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I NELLIE E. SISLEV, Ass't Sec, Battle Creek, Mich. | 




BV 125 .A54 1873 

Andrews, John Nevins, 1829- 

History of the Sabbath and 

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-OF — 











The history of the Sabbath embraces the period of 6000 
years. The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord. The 
acts which constituted it such were, first, the example orihe 
Creator ; secondly, his placing his blessing upon the day ; 
and thirdly, the sanctification or divine appointment of the 
day to a holy use. The Sabbath, therefore, dates from the 
beginning of our world's history. The first who Sabbatized 
on the seventh day is God the Creator ; and the first seventh 
day of time is the day which he thus honored. The highest 
of all possible honors does, therefore, pertain to the seventh 
day. Nor is this honor confined to the first seventh day of 
time ; for so soon as God had rested upon that day, he ap- 
pointed the seventh day to a holy use, that man might hal- 
low it in memory of his Creator. 

This divine appointment grows out of the nature and fit- 
ness of things, and must have been made directly to Adam, 
for himself and wife were then the only beings who had the 
days of the week to use. As it was addressed to Adam while 
yet in his uprightness, it must have been given to him as the 
head of the human family. The fourth commandment bases 
all its authority upon this original mandate of the Creator, 
and must, therefore, be in substance what God commanded 
to Adam and Eve as the representatives of mankind. 

The patriarchs could not possibly have been ignorant of 
the facts and the obligation which the fourth commandment 
shows to have originated in the beginning, for Adam was 
present with them for a period equal to more than half the 
Christian dispensation. Those, therefore, who walked with 
God in the observance of his commandments did certainly 
hallow his Sabbath. 

The observers of the seventh day must therefore include 
the ancient godly patriarchs, and none will deny that they 
include also the prophets and the apostles. Indeed, the en- 
tire church of God embraced within the records of inspira- 
tion were Sabbath-keepers. To this number must be added 
the Son of God. 


What a history, therefore, has the Sabbath of the Lord! 
Tt was instituted in Paradise, honored by several miracles 
each week for the space of forty years, proclaimed by the 
great Lawgiver from Sinai, observed by the Creator, the pa- 
triarchs, the prophets, the apostles, and the Son of God ! 
It constitutes the very heart of the law of God, and so long 
as that law endures, so long shall the authority of this sacred 
institution stand fast. 

Such being the record of the seventh day, it may well be 
asked. How came it to pass that this day has been abased to 
the dust, and another day elevated to its sacred honors? 
The Scriptures nowhere attribute this work to the Son of 
God. They do, however, predict the great apostasy in the 
Christian church, and that the little horn, or man of sin, the 
lawless one, should think to change times and laws. 

It is the object of the present volume to show, 1. The Bi- 
ble record of the Sabbath ; 2. The record of the Sabbath in 
secular history ; 3. The record of the Sunday festival, and 
of the several steps by which it has usurped the place of the 
ancient Sabbath, 

The writer has attempted to ascertain the exact truth in 
the case by consulting the original authorities as far as it 
has been possible to gain access to them. The margin will 
show to whom he is mainly indebted for the facts presented 
in this work, though it indicates only a very small part of 
the works consulted. He has given the exact words of the 
historians, and has endeavored, conscientiously, to present 
them in such a light as to do justice to the authors quoted. 

It is not the fault of the writer that the history of the 
Sunday festival presents such an array of frauds and of in- 
iquities in its support. These are, in the nature of the case, 
essential to its very existence, for the claim of a usurper is 
necessarily based in fraud. The responsibility for these rests 
with those who dare commit or uphold such acts. The an- 
cient Sabbath of the Lord has never needed help of this kind, 
and never has its record been stained by fraud or falsehood. 

J, N. A. 

Battle Creeh, Mich., Xor. 14, 1873, 












GOD, 51-G4 


ATION, 64-82 












ENTY WEEKS 115-157 



THE APOSTLES, 158-192 





THE APOSTLES, 204-228 










ANCE, 282-308 



FATHE^.S, 308-331 








AGES, 398-432 









TURY, 459-470 












Time .and eternity — The Creator and his work — Events of 
the first day of time— Of the second— Of the third— Of the 
fourth— Of the fifth— Of the sixth. 

Time, as distinguished from eternity, may be 
defined as that part of duration which is measured 
by the Bible. From the earliest date in the book 
of Genesis to the resurrection of the unjust at the 
end of the millennium, the period of about 7000 
years is measured ofi".^ Before the commence- 
ment of this great week of time, duration with- 
out beginning fills the past ; and at the expira- 
tion of this period, unending duration opens be- 
fore the people of God. Eternity is that word 
which embraces duration without beginning and 
without end. And that Being whose existence 
comprehends eternity, is he who only hath im- 
mortality, the King eternal, immortal, invisible, 
the only wise God.^ 

When it pleased this infinite Being, he gave ex- 
istence to our earth. Out of nothing God created 

1 For the scriptural and traditional evidence on this point, see 
Shimeall's Bible Chronology, part i. chap, vi; Taylor's Voice of 
the Church, pp. 25-30 ; and Bliss' Sacred Chronology, pp. 199-203. 

2lsa. 57:15; 1 Sam. 15:29, margin; Jer. 10:10, margin; 
Micah 5 : 2, margin ; 1 Tim. 6:16; 1 : 17 ; Ps. 90 : 2. 

SftWmtli Ilistorv. 3 


all things;^ "so that things which are seen were 
not made of things which do appear." This act 
of creation is that event which marks the com- 
mencement of the first week of time. He who 
could accomplish the whole work with one word 
chose rather to employ six days, and to accom- 
plish the result by successive steps. Let us trace 
the footsteps of the Creator from the time when 
he laid the foundation of the earth until the close 
of the sixth day, when the heavens and the earth 

1 Dr. Adam Clarke, in his Commentary on Gen. 1 : 1, uses the 
following language : " Created] Caused that to exist which pre- 
viously to this moment, had no being. The rabbins, who are le- 
gitimate judges in a case of verbal criticism on their own language, 
are unanimous in asserting that the word hara, expresses the 
commencement of the existence of a thing : or its egression from 
nonentity to entity. . . . These words should be translated : 
'God in the beginning created the substance of the heavens and 
the substance of the earth; i. e., the prima materia, or first 
elements, out of which the heavens and the earth were succes- 
sively formed. ' " 

Purchase's Pilgrimage, b. i. chap, ii., speaks thus of the crea- 
tion: "Nothing but nothing had the Lord Almighty, whereof, 
wherewith, whereby, to build this city" [that is the world]. 

Dr. Gill says: "These are said to be created, that is, to be 
made out of nothing; for what pre-existent matter to this chaos 
[of verse 2] could there be out of which they could be formed?" 

*' Creation must be the work of God, for none but an almighty 
power could produce something out of nothing." Commentary 
on Gen. 1 : 1. 

John Calvin, in his Commentary on this chapter, thus expounds 
the creative act: "His meaning is, that the world was made out 
of nothing. Hence the folly of those is refuted who imagine that 
unformed matter existed from eternity." 

The work of creation is thus defined in 2 Maccabees 7 : 28 : 
" Look \ipon the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, and 
consider that God made them of things that were not ; and so was 
mankind made likewise." 

That this creative act marked the commencement of the first day 
instead of preceding it by almost infinite ages is thus stated in 
2 Esdras : 38 : " And I said, Lord, thou spakest from the be- 
ginning of the creation, even the first day, and saidst thus: Let 
heaven and earth be made ; and thy word was a perfect work." 

Wycliffe's translation, the earliest of the English versions, 
renders Gen. 1 : 1, thus : " In the first, made God of naught heav- 
en and earth." 


were finished, " and God saw everything that he 
had made, and behold, it was very good." ^ 

On the first day of time God created the 
heaven and the earth. The earth thus called in- 
to existence was without form, and void ; and total 
darkness covered the Creator's work. Then " God 
said, Let there be light ; and there was light." 
" And God divided the light from the darkness," 
and called the one day, and the other night.^ 

On the second day of time "God said. Let 
there be a firmament [margin, Heb., expansion] in 
the midst of the waters, and let it divide the wa- 
ters from the waters." The dry land had not yet 
appeared ; consequently the earth was covered 
with water. As no atmosphere existed, thick va- 
pors rested upon the face of the water ; but the 
atmosphere being now called into existence by 
the word of the Creator, causing those elements 
to unite which compose the air we breathe, the 
fogs and vapors that had rested upon the bosom 
of the water were borne aloft by it. This atmos- 
phere or expansion is called heaven.^ 

On the third day of time God gathered the 
waters together and caused the dry land to ap- 
pear. The gathering together of the waters 
God called seas ; the dry land, thus rescued from 
the waters, he called earth. " And God said. Let 
the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding 
seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his 
kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth : and 
it was so." " And God saw that it was good." * 

On the fourth day of time "God said. Let 
there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, 
to divide the day from the night ; and let them 

1 Heb. 11 : 3 ; Gen. 1. 2 Qen. 1:1-5; Heb. 1. ^ Oen. 1 : 

6-8; Job 37 : 18. •* Gen. 1 : 9-13 ; Ps. 136 : 6 ; 2 Pet. 3 : 5. 


be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and 
years." " And God made two great lights ; the 
greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light 
to rule the night ; he made the stars also." Light 
had been created on the first day of the week ; and 
now on the fourth day he causes the sun and 
moon to appear as light-bearers, and places the 
light under their rule. And they continue unto 
this day according to his ordinances, for all are 
his servants. Such was the work of the fourth 
day. And the Great Architect, surveying what 
he had wrought, pronounced it good.^ 

On the fifth day of time " God created great 
whales, and every living creature that moveth, 
which the waters brought forth abundantly, after 
their kind, and every winged fowl after his 
kind : and God saw that it was good." ^ 

On the sixth day of time " God made the 
beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after 
their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the 
earth after his kind : and God saw that it was 
good." Thus the earth, having been fitted for the 
purpose, was filled with every order of living crea- 
ture, while the air and waters teemed with animal 
existence. To complete this noble work of crea- 
tion, God next provides a ruler, the representative 
of himself, and places all in subjection under him. 
" And God said. Let us make man in our im- 
age, after our likeness : and let them have do- 
minion over the fish of the sea, and over the 
fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all 
the earth, and over every creeping thing that 
creepeth upon the earth." "And the Lord God 
foi-med man of the dust of the ground, and breathed 

1 Gen. 1 : 14-19 : P.s. 119 : 91 ; Jer. 33 : 25. a Gen. 1 : 20-23. 


into his nostrils the breath of life ; and man be- 
came a living soul. And the Lord God planted 
a garden eastward in Eden ; and there he put the 
man whom he had formed. And out of the 
ground made the Lord God to grow every tree 
that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food ; 
the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, 
and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." 
Last of all, God created Eve, the mother of all 
living. The work of the Creator was now com- 
plete. " The heavens and the earth were finished, 
and all the host of them." " And God saw every- 
thing that he had made, and behold, it was very 
good." Adam and Eve were in paradise; the 
tree of life bloomed on earth ; sin had not entered 
our world, and death was not here, for there was 
no sin. " The morning stars sang together, and 
all the sons of God shouted for joy." Thus 
ended the sixth day.^ 



Event on the seventh day — Why the Creator rested — Acts by 
which the Sabbath was made — Time and order of their 
occurrence — Meaning of the word sanctified — The fourth 
commandment refers the origin of the Sabbath to creation 
— The second mention of the Sabbath confirms this fact — 
The Saviour's testimony — When did God sanctify the sev- 
enth day — Object of the Author of the Sabbath — Testimony 
of Josephus and of Philo — Negative argument from the 
book of Genesis considered — Adam's knowledge of the Sab- 
bath not difficult to be known by the patriarchs. 

The work of the Creator was finished, but the 
first week of time was not yet completed. Each 

1 Gen. 1 : 24-31 ; 2 : 7-9, 18-22 ; 3 : 20; Job 38 : 7. 


of the six days had been distmgiiishcd by the 
Creator's work upon it; but the seventh was 
rendered memorable in a very different manner. 
" And on the seventh ^ day God ended his work 
which he had made ; and he rested on the sev- 
enth day from all his work which he had made." 
In yet stronger language it is written : " On the 
seventh day he rested, and was hefkeshed." ^ 

Thus the seventh day of the week became the 
rest-day of the Lord. How remarkable is this 
fact ! " The everlasting God, the Lord, the 
Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, 
neither is weary." ^ He needed no rest ; yet it is 
written, " On the seventh day he rested, and was 
refreshed." Why does not the record simply 
state the cessation of the Creator's v/ork ? Why 
did he at the close of that work employ a day in 
rest ? The answer will be learned from the next 
verse. He was laying the foundation of a divine 
institution, the memorial of his own great work. 

'' And God blessed the seventh day, and sancti- 
fied it ; because that in it he had rested from all 
his work which God created and made." The 
fourth commandment states the same fact : He 
"rested the seventh day; ivherefore the Lord 
blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it."^ 

1 " On the sixth day God ended his work which he had made ; 
and he rested on the seventh day," &c., is the reading of the 
Septuagint, the Syriac, and the Samaritan; " and this should be 
considered the genuine reading," says Dr. A. Clarke. See his 
Commentary on Gen. 2. 

2Gen. 2:2; Ex. 31:17. s Jsa. 40 : 28. 

4 Gen. 2:0; Ex. 20 : 11. In an anonymous work entitled " Mor- 
ality of the Fourth Commandment," 'London, 1652, but not the 
same with that of Dr. Twisse, of the same title, is the following 
striking passage : 

"The Hebrew root for seven, signifiea fullness, perfection, and 
the Jews held many mysteries to be iii the number seven : so 
John in his Apocalypse useth much that number. As, seven 


The blessing and sanctification of the seventh 
day were because that God had rested upon it. 
His resting upon it, then, was to lay the founda- 
tion for blessing and sanctifying the day. His 
being refreshed with this rest, implies that he 
delighted in the act which laid the foundation 
for the memorial of his great work. 

The second act of the Creator in instituting this 
memorial was to place his blessing upon the day 
of his rest. Thenceforward it vfas the blessed 
rest-day of the Lord. A third act completes the 
sacred institution. The day already blessed of 
God is now, last of all, sanctified or hallowed by 
him. To sanctify is " to separate, set apart, or 
appoint to a holy, sacred, or religious use." To 
hallow is '' to make holy; to consecrate; to set 
apart for a holy or religious use."^ 

The time when these three acts were performed 
is worthy of especial notice. The first act was 
that of rest. This took place on the seventh day ; 
for the day was employed in rest. The second 
and third acts took place when the seventh day 
was past. "God blessed the seventh day, and 
sanctified it : because that in it he had rested 
from all his work." Hence it was on the first 

churches, seven stars, sevea spirits, seven candlesticks, seven 
angels, seven seals, seven trumpets ; and we no sooner meet with 
a seventh dav, but it is blessed ; no sooner with a seventh man 
[Gen. 5 : 24; Jude 14], but he is translated." Page 7. 

1 Webster's Unabridged Dictionary on the words sanctify and 
halloio. Ed. 1859. 

The revised edition of 1864 gives this definition : " To make sa- 
cred or holy ; to set apart to a holy or religious use ; to conse- 
crate by ajjpropriat:.' 7'ites ; to hallow. God blessed the seventh 
day, and sanctijied it. Gen. 2:3. Moses . . . sanctified Aaron 
and his garments. Lev. 8 : SO." 

Worcester defines it thus: " To ordain or set apart to sacred 
ends; to consecrate; to hallow. God blessed the seventh day 
and sanctijied it. Gen. 2 : 3." 


day of tlie second week of time that God blessed 
the seventh day, and set it apart to a holy use. 
The blessing and sanctification of the seventh 
day, therefore, relate not to the first seventh day 
of time, but to the seventh day of the week for 
time to come, in memory of God's rest on that 
day from the work of creation. 

With the beginning of time, God began to 
count days, giving to each an ordinal number for 
its name. Seven different days receive as many 
different names. In memory of that which he 
did on the last of these days, he sets that day 
apart by 7iame to a holy use. This act gave ex- 
istence to weeks, or periods of seven days. For 
with the seventh day, he ceased to count, and, by 
the divine appointment of that day to a holy 
use in memory of his rest thereon, he causes man 
to begin the count of a new week so soon as the 
first seventh day had ceased. And as God has 
been pleased to give man, in all, but seven 
different days, and has given to each one of these 
days a name which indicates its exact place in 
the week, his act of setting apart one of these 
by name, wliich act created weeks and gave man 
the Sabbath, can never — except by sophistry — 
be made to relate to an indefinite or uncertain 

The days of the week are measured off by the 
revolution of our earth on its axis ; and hence 
our seventh day, as such, can come only to dwell- 
ers on this globe. To Adam and Eve, therefore, 
as inhabitants of this earth, and not to the in- 
habitants of some other world, were the days of 
the week given to use. Hence, when God set 
apart one of these days to a holy use in memory 
of his own rest on that day of the week, the very 


essence of the act consisted in his telling Adam 
that this day should be used only for sacred pur- 
poses. Adam was then in the garden of God, 
placed there by the Creator to dress it and to 
keep it. He was also commissioned of God to 
subdue the earth .^ When therefore the rest-day 
of the Lord should return, from week to week, all 
this secular employment, however proper in it- 
self, must be laid aside, and the day observed in 
memory of the Creator's rest. 

Dr. Twisse quotes Martin Luther thus : 

"And Martin Lntlier professetli as much (tome vi. in 
Gen. 2:3). ' It follows from lience,' saith he, 'that, if 
Adam had stood in his innocency, yet he should have 
kept the seventh day holy, that is, on that day he should 
have taught his children, and children's children, what 
was the will of God, and wherein his worship did consist ; 
he should have praised God, given thanks, and offered. 
On other days he should have tilled his ground, looked 
to his cattle.' "^ 

The Hebrew verb, kadash, here rendered sanc- 
tified, and in the fourth commandment rendered 
haUoiced, is defined by Gesenius, " To pronounce 
holy, to sanctify ; to institute any holy thing, to 
appoint."^ It is repeatedly used in the Old Test- 
ament for a public appointment or proclamation. 
Thus, when the cities of refuge were set apart in 
Israel, it is written : " They appointed [margin, 
Heb., sanctified] Kedesh in Galilee in Mount 
Naphtali, and Shechem in Mount Ephraim," &c. 
This sanctification or appointment of the cities of 
refuge was by a public announcement to Israel 
that these cities were set apart for that purpose. 

1 Gen. 2 : 15 ; 1 : 28. 

3 Morality of the Fourth Commandment, pp. 56, 57, London, 

3 Hebrew Lexicon, p. 914, ed. 1854. 


This verb is also used for tlie appointment of a 
public fast, and for the gathering of a solemn 
assembly. Thus it is written : " Sanctify [i. e., 
appoint] ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather 
the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into 
the house of the Lord your God." " Blow the 
trumpet in Zion, sanctify [i. c, ajDpoint] a fast, 
call a solemn assembly.'' " And Jehu said. Pro- 
claim [margin, Heb., sanctify] a solemn assembly 
for Baal."^ This appointment for Baal was so 
public that all the worshipers of Baal in all Israel 
were gathered together. These fasts and solemn 
assemblies were sanctified or set apart by a public 
appointment or proclamation of the fact. When 
therefore God set apart the seventh day to a holy 
use, it was necessary that he should state that fact 
to those who had the days of the week to use. 
Without such announcement the day could not 
be set apart from the others. 

But the most strikinsr illustration of the mean- 
mg of this word may be found in the record of 
the sanctification of Mount Sinai.^ When God 
was about to speak the ten connnandments in the 
hearing of all Israel, he sent Moses down from 
the top of Mount Sinai to restrain the people from 
touching the mount. " And Moses said unto the 
Lord, The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai ; 
for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about 
the mount, and sa nctify it" Turning back to the 
verse where God gave this charge to Moses, we 
read : " And thou shalt set bounds unto tlie peo- 
ple roundabout, saying, Take heed to yourselves, 
that ye go not up into the mount or touch the 
border of it." Hence to sanctify the mount was 

1 Jnsh. 20 : 7 ; Joel 1 : U ; 2:15; 2 Kings 10 : 20, 21 ; Zeph. 1 
7, margin. "^Ex. 19:12, 23. 


to command the people not to touch even the 
border of it; for God was about to descend in 
majesty upon it. In other words, to sanctify or 
set apart to a holy use Mount Sinai, was to tell 
the people that God would have them treat the 
mountain as sacred to himself And thus also to 
sanctify the rest-day of the Lord was to tell Adam 
that he should treat the day as holy to the Lord. 
The declaration, " God blessed the seventh day, 
and sanctified it/' is not indeed a commandment 
for the observance of that day ; but it is the rec- 
ord that such a precept was given to Adam.^ For 
how could the Creator ''set apart to a holy use"^ 
the day of his rest, when those who vfere to use 
the day knew nothing of his will in the case ? 
Let those answer who are able. 

1 Dr. Lange's Commentary speaks on this point thus, in vol. 
i, p. 197 : " If we had no other passage than this of Gen. 2 : 3, 
there would be no difficulty in deducing from it a precept for the 
universal observance of a Sabbath, or seventh day, to be devoted 
to God, as holy time, by all of that race for whom the earth and 
its nature were specially prepared. The first men must have 
known it. The words, * He hallowed it,' can have no meaning 
otherwise. They would be a blank unless in reference to some 
who were required to keep it holy." 

Dr. Nicholas Bound, in his "True Doctrine of the Sabbath," 
London, 1606, page 7, thus states the antiquity of the Sabbath 

"This first commandment of the Sabbath was no more then 
first given when it was pronounced from Heaven by the Lord, 
than any other one of the moral precepts, nay, that it hath so 
much antiquity as the seventh day hath being ; for, so soon as 
the day was," so soon was it sanctified, that we might know 
that, as it came in with the first man, so it must not go out but 
with the last man ; and as it was in the beginning of the world, 
so it must continue to the end of the same ; and, as the first sev- 
enth day was sanctified, so must the last be. And this is that 
which one saith, that the Sabbath was commanded by God, and 
the seventh day was sanctified of him even from the' beginning 
of the world; where (the latter words expounding the former) 
he showeth that, when God did sanclif}^ it, then also he com- 
manded it to be kept holy; and therefore look how ancient the 
sanctification of the day is, the same antiquity also as the com- 
mandment of keeping it holy ; for they two are all one." 


This view of the record in Genesis we shall 
find to be sustained by all the testimony in the 
Bible relative to the rest-day of the Lord. The 
facts which we have examined are the basis of 
the fourth commandment. Thus spake the great 
Law-giver from the summit of the flaming mount : 
'' Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." 
" The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy 
God." " For in six days the Lord made heaven 
and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and 
rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord 
blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it."^ 

The term Sabbath is transferred from the He- 
brew language, and signifies rest.^ The command, 
" Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy," is 
therefore exactly equivalent to saying, " Remem- 
ber the rest-da}^, to keep it holy." The explana- 
tion which follows sustains this statement : " The 
seventh day is the Sabbath [or rest-day] of the 
Lord thy God." The origin of this rest-day is 
given in these words : " For in six days the Lord 
made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in 
them is, and rested the seventh day : wherefore 
the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed 
it." That which is enjoined in the fourth com- 
mandment is to keep holy the rest-day of the 
Lord. And this is defined to be the day on which 
he rested from the work of creation. Moreover, 
the fourth commandment calls the seventh day 
the Sabbath day at the time when God blessed 
and hallowed that day ; therefore the Sabbath is 
an institution dating from the foundation of the 
world. The fourth commandment points back to 

lEx. 20:8-11. 

2 Buck's Theological Dictionary, article, Sabbath; Calmet's 
Dictionary, article, Sabbath. 


the creation for the origin of its obligation ; and 
when we go back to that point, we find the sub- 
stance of the fourth commandment given to 
Adam : " God blessed the seventh day and sanc- 
tified it ;" i. e., set it apart to a holy use. And 
in the commandment itself, the same fact is stat- 
ed : " The Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hal- 
lowed it ;" i. e., appointed it to a holy use. The 
one statement affirms that " God blessed the sev- 
enth day, and sanctified it ;" the other, that " the 
Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." 
These two statements refer to the same acts. 
Because the word Sabbath does not occur in the 
first statement, it has been contended that the 
Sabbath did not originate at creation, it being 
the seventh day merely which was hallowed. 
From the second statement, it has been contended 
that God did not bless the seventh day at all, but 
simply the Sabbath institution. But both state- 
ments embody all the truth. God blessed the 
seventh day, and sanctified it ; and this day thus 
blessed and hallowed was his holy Sabbath, or 
rest-day. Thus the fourth commandment estab- 
lishes the origin of the Sabbath at creation. 

The second mention of the Sabbath in the Bi- 
ble furnishes a decisive confirmation of the testi- 
monies already adduced. On the sixth day of the 
week, Moses, in the wilderness of Sin, said to Is- 
rael, " To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath 
unto the Lord."^ What had been done to the 
seventh day since God blessed and sanctified it as 
his rest-day in paradise ? Nothing. What did 
Moses do to the seventh day to make it the rest 
of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord ? Nothing. 

lEx. 16: 22,23. 


Moses on the sixth day simply states the fact 
that the moi-row is the rest of the holy Sabbath 
unto the Lord. The seventh day had l-'jcn such 
ever since God blessed and hallowed the day of 
his rest. 

The testimony of our divine Lord relative to 
the origin and design of the Sabbath is of pecul- 
iar importance. He is competent to testify, for 
he was with the Father in the beginning of the 
creation.^ "The Sabbath was made for man," 
said he, " not man for the Sabbath." "" The fol- 
lowing grammatical rule is Vv^orthy of notice : " A 
noun without an adjective is invariably taken in 
its broadest extension, as : Man is accountable." ^ 
The following texts will illustrate this rule, and 
also this statement of our Lord's: "Man lietli 
down and riseth not : till the heavens be no more, 
they shall not av/ake, nor be raised out of their 
sleep." "There hath no temptation taken you 
but such as is common to man." " It is appoint- 
ed unto men once to die." ^ In these texts man 
is used without restriction, and, therefore, all 
mankind are necessarily intended. The Sabbath 
was therefore made for the whole human family, 
and consequently originated with mankind. But 
the Saviour's language is even yet more emphatic 
in the original : " The Sabbath was made for the 
man, not the man for the Sabbath." This lan- 
guage fixes the mind on the man Adam, who was 
made of the dust of the gi'ound just before the 
Sabbath was made for him, of the seventh day. 

This is a striking confirmation of the fact al- 

1 John 1:1-3; Gen. 1 : 1, 20 ; Col. 1 : 13-lG. 2 Mark £ : 27. 

3 Barrett's Principles of English Grammar, p. 29. 

4 Job U : 12 ; 1 Cor. 10 : 13 ; Hob. 9 : 27. 


ready pointed out that the Sabbath was given to 
Adam, the head of the human famil}^ 

" The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord 
thy God; yet he made the Sabbath for man. 
" God made the Sabbath his by solemn appropri- 
ation, that he might convey it back to us under 
the g-uarantee of a divine charter, that none 
might rob us of it mth impunity." 

But is it not possible that God's act of blessing 
and sanctifying the seventh day did not occur at 
the close of the creation week ? May it not be 
mentioned then because God designed that the 
day of his rest should be afterward observed ? Or 
rather, as Moses ^\T^'ote the book of Genesis long 
after the creation, might he not insert this account 
of the sanctification of the seventh day v/ith the 
record of the first week, though the day itself 
was sanctified in his own time ? 

It is veiy certain that such an interpretation 
of the record cannot be admitted, unless the facts 
in the case demand it. For it is, to say the least, 
a forced explanation of the language. The record 
in Genesis, unless this be an exception, is a plain 
narrative of events. Thus what God did on each 
day is recorded in its order down to the seventh. 
It is certainly doing violence to the narrative to 
afiirm that the record respecting the seventh day 
is of a different character from that respecting 
the other six. He rested the seventh day; he 
sanctified the seventh day because he had rested 
upon it. The reason why he should sanctify the 
seventh day existed when his rest was closed. 
To say, therefore, that God did not sanctify the 
day at that time, but did it in the days of Moses, 
is not only to distort the narrative, but to afiirm 
tliat he neglected to do that for which the reason 


existed at creation, until twenty-five hundred 
years after, ^ 

But we ask that the facts be brought forw^ard 
which prove that the Sabbath was sanctified in 
the wilderness of Sin, and not at creation. And 
what are the facts that show this ? It is con- 
fessed that such facts are not upon record. Their 
existence is assumed in order to sustain the the- 
ory that the Sabbath originated at the fall of the 
manna, and not in paradise. 

Did God sanctify the Sabbath in the wilder- 
ness of Sin ? There is no intimation of such fact. 
On the contrary, it is mentioned at that time as 
something already set apart of God. On the sixth 
day Moses said, " To-morrow is the rest of the 
holy Sabbath unto the Lord."^ Surely this is 
not the act of instituting the Sabbath, but the 
familiar mention of an existing fact. We pass on 
to Mount Sinai. Did God sanctify the Sabbath 
when he spoke the ten commandments "? No one 
claims that he did. It is admitted by all that 
Moses spoke of it familiarly the previous month.^ 
Does the Lord at Sinai speak of the sanctification 
of the Sabbath ? He does ; but in the very lan- 
guage of Genesis he goes back for the sanctifica- 
tion of the Sabbath, not to the wilderness of Sin, 
but to the creation of the Avorld.* We ask those 

1 Dr. Twisse illustrates the absurdity of that view which makes 
the first observance of the Sabbath in memory of creation to have 
begun some 2500 years after that event : ** We read that when the 
Ilienses, inhabitants of Ilium, called anciently by tlie name of 
Troy, sent an embassage to Tiberius, to condole the death of his 
father Augustus, he, considering the unseasonablencss thereof, it 
being a long time after his death, requited them accordingly, say- 
ing thai he was sorry for their heaviness also, having lost so re- 
nowned a knight as' Hector was, to wit, above a thousand years 
before, in the wars of Troy." — Morality of the Fourth Coin- 
mandment, p. 198. 2 Ex. Ifi : 23. ^ Ex. 16. ^ Ex. 20 : 8-11. 


who hold the theory under examination, this 
question: If the Sabbath was not sanctified at 
creation, but was sanctified in the wilderness of 
Sin, why does the narrative in each instance ^ re- 
cord the sanctification of the Sabbath at creation 
and omit all mention of such fact in the wilder- 
ness of Sin ? Nay, why does the record of events 
in the wilderness of Sin show that the holy Sab- 
bath was at that time already in existence ? In a 
word. How can a theory subversive of all the 
facts in the recoixl, be maintained as the truth of 

We have seen the Sabbath ordained of God at 
the close of the creation week. The object of its 
Author is worthy of especial attention. Why 
did the Creator set up this memorial in paradise ? 
Why did he set apart from the other days of the 
week that day which he had employed in rest ? 
'' Because that in it," says the record, " he had 
rested from all his work which God created and 
made." A rest necessarily implies a vjork per- 
formed. And hence the Sabbath was ordained 
of God as a memorial of the work of creation. 
And therefore that precept of the moral law 
which relates to this memorial, unlike every other 
precept of that law, begins with the word, " Re- 
member." The importance of this memorial will 
be appreciated when we learn from the Scriptures 
that it is the work of creation which is claimed 
by its Author as the great evidence of his eternal 
power and Godhead, and as that great fact which 
distinguishes him from all false gods. Thus it is 
written : 

''He that built all things is God." "The gods that 

1 Compare Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20 : 8-11. 
Sabbath History. tl 


have not made tlie heavens and the earth, cvontlicy shall 
perish from the earth, and from nnder these heavens." 
" But the Lord is the true God, he is tlie living God, and 
an everlasting King." "He hath made the earth by his 
power, he hath established the world by his "vvisdom, and 
hath stretched out the heavens by his discreticn." '' For 
the invisible things of him from the creation of the world 
are clearl}' seen, being understood ])y the things that are 
made, even his eternal power and Godhead." "For he 
spake, and it was done ; he commanded, and it stood fast." 
Thus " the worlds were framed by the word of God, so 
that things which are seen were not made of things 
which do appear." ^ 

Such is the estimate which the Scriptures place 
upon the work of creation as evincing the eternal 
power and Godhead of the Creator. The Sabbath 
stands as the memorial of this great work. Its 
observance is an act of grateful acknowledg- 
ment on the part of his intelligent creatures that 
he is their Creator, and that they owe all to him ; 
and that for his pleasure they are and were created. 
How appropriate this observance for Adam ! And 
when man had fallen, how important for his well- 
being that he should ''remember the Sabbath day, 
to keep it holy." He would thus have been pre- 
served from atheism and from idolatry; for he 
could never forget that there was a God from 
whom all things derived their being ; nor could 
he worship as God any other being than the Cre- 

The seventh day, as hallowed by God in Eden, 
was not Jewish, but divine ; it was not the memo- 
rial of the flight of Israel from Egypt, but of the 
Creator's rest. Nor is it true that the most dis- 
tinguished Jewish writers deny the primeval or- 
igin of the Sabbath, or claim it as a Jewish me- 

iHeb. 3:4; Jer. 10:10-12; Rom. 1 : 20 ; Ps. 33 : 0; Ileb. 11 :3. 


morial. We cite the historian Josephus and his 
learned cotemporaiy, Philo Jud?eus. Josephus, 
whose "Antiquities of the Jews " run parallel with 
the Bible from the beginning, when treating of 
the wilderness of Sin, makes no allusion whatever 
to the Sabbath, a clear proof that he had no idea 
that it originated in that wilderness. But when 
ffivinor the account of creation, he bears the fol- 
lowing testimony : 

"Moses says that m just six days tlie world and all that 
is therein "vras made. And that the seventh day was a 
rest and a release from the labor of such operations ; 
WHENCE it is that we celebrate a rest from our labor on 
that day, and call it the Sabbath ; wliich word denotes 
rest in the Hebrew tongue." ^ 

And Philo bears a.n emphatic testimony rela- 
tive to the character of the Sabbath as a memo- 
rial. Thus he says : 

"But after the whole world had been completed ac- 
cording to the perfect nature of the number six, the Fa- 
ther hallowed the day foUmving, the seventh, praising it 
and calling it holy. For that day is the festival, not of 
one city or one country, but of all the earth ; a day which 
alone it is right to call the day of festival for all people, 
and the birth-day of the world." ^ 

Nor was the rest-day of the Lord a shadow of 
man's rest after his recovery from the fall. God 
will ever be worshiped in an understanding man- 
ner by his intelligent creatures. When therefore 
he set apart his rest-day to a holy use, if it was 
not as a memorial of his work, but as a shadow 
of man's redemption from the fall, the real design 
of the institution must have been stated, and, as 
a consequence, man in his unfallen state could 

1 Antiquities of the Jews, b. i. chap. i. sect. 1. 

2 Works, vol. i. The Creation of the World, sect. 30. 


never observe the Sabbath as a delight, but ever 
with deep distress, as reminding him that he was 
soon to apostatize from God. Nor was the holy 
of the Lord and honorable, one of the "carnal 
ordinances imposed on them until the time of 
reformation ;" ^ for there could be no reformation 
with unfallen beinors. 


But man did not continue in his uprightness. 
Paradise was lost, and Adam was excluded from 
the tree of life. The curse of God fell upon the 
earth, and death entered by sin, and passed upon 
all men.^ After this sad apostasy, no further 
mention of the Sabbath occurs until Moses on the 
sixth day said, '' To-morrow is the rest of the holy 
Sabbath unto the Lord." 

It is objected that there is no precept in the 
book of Genesis for the observance of the Sab- 
bath, and consequently no obligation on the part 
of the patriarchs to observe it. There is a defect 
in this argument not noticed by those who use it. 
The book of Genesis was hot a rule given to the 
patriarchs to walk by. On the contrary, it was 
written by Moses 2500 years after creation, and 
long after the patriarchs were dead. Conse- 
quently the fact that certain precepts were not 
found in Genesis is no evidence that they were 
not obligatory upon tlie patriarchs. Thus the 
book does not command men to love God with 
all their hearts, and their neighbors as themselves ; 
nor docs it prohibit idolatry, blasphemy, disobe- 
dience to parents, adultery, theft, false witness 
or covetousness. Who will affirm from this that 
the patriarchs were under no restraint in these 
things ? As a mere record of events, writtfiu 
long after their occurrence, it was not necessary 

1 Isa. 58 : 13, 14; Ileb ft : 10. ^Gen. 3 ; Rom. 5 : 12. 


that the book should contain a moral code. But 
had the book been given to the patriarchs as a 
rule of life, it must of necessity have contained 
such a code. It is a fact worthy of especial no- 
tice that as soon as Moses reaches his own time in 
the book of Exodus, the whole moral law is given. 
The record and the people were then cotempo- 
rary, and ever afterward the written law is in 
the hands of God's people, as a rule of life, and a 
complete code of moral precepts. 

The argument under consideration is unsound, 
1. Because based upon the supposition that the 
book of Genesis was the rule of life for the patri- 
archs ; 2. Becpvuse if carried out it would release 
the patriarchs from every precept of the moral 
law except the sixth.^ 3. Because the act of 
God in setting apart his rest-day to a holy use, 
as we have seen, necessarily involves the fact that 
he gave a precept concerning it to Adam, in 
whose time it was thus set apart. And hence, 
though the book of Genesis contains no precept 
concerning the Sabbath, it does contain direct 
evidence that such precept was given to the head 
and representative of the human family. 

After giving the institution of the Sabbath, 
the book of Genesis, in its brief record of 2870 
years, does not again mention it. This has been 
urged as ample proof that those holy men, who, 
during this period, were perfect, and walked with 
God in the observance of his commandments, 
statutes and laws,^ all lived in open profanation 
of that day which God had blessed and set apart 
to a holy use. But the book of Genesis also omits 
any distinct reference to the doctrine of future 
punishment, the resurrection of the body, the rev- 

1 Gen. 9 : 5. 7. 2 Gen. 5 : 24 ; 6:9; 20 : 5. 


elation of the Lord in flaming fire, and the Judg- 
ment of the great day. Does this silence prove 
that the patriarchs did not believe these great 
doctrines ? Does it make them any the less sa- 
cred ? 

But the Sabbath is not mentioned from Moses 
to David, a period of five hundred years, during 
which it was enforced by the penalty of death. 
Does this prove that it was not observed during 
this period ? ^ The jubilee occupied a very prom- 
inent place in the typical system, yet in the whole 
Bible a sin ale instance of its observance is not re- 
corded. What is still more remarkable, there is 
not on record a single instance of the observance 
of the great day of atonement, notwithstanding 
the work in the holiest on that day was the most 
important service connected with the worldly 
sanctuary. And yet the observance of the other 
and less important festivals of the seventh month, 
which are so intimately connected with the day 
of atonement, the one preceding it by ten days, 
the other following it in five, is repeatedly and 
particularly recorded.^ It would be sophistry to 
argue from this silence respecting the day of 
atonement, when there were so many instances 
in which its mention was almost demanded, that 
that day was never observed ; and yet it is actu- 
ally a better argument than the similar one urged 
against the Sabbath from the book of Genesis. 

The reckoning of time by weeks is derived 
from nothing in nature, but owes its existence to 
the divine appointment of the seventh day to a 

^See the beginning of chap. viii. of this work. 
2 Ezra 3:1-0; Neh. 8:2, 9-12, 14-18; 1 Kings 8:2, Go; 2 
Chron. 5:3; 7 : 8, D ; John 7 : 2-14, 37. 


holy use in memory of the Lord's rest from the 
six days' work of creation.^ This period of time 
is marked only by the recurrence of the sancti- 
fied rest-day of the Creator. That the patriarchs 
reckoned time by weeks and by sevens of days, 
is evident from several texts.^ That they should 
retain the week and forget the Sabbath by which 
alone the week is marked, is not a probable con- 
clusion. That the reckoning of the week was 
riglitly kept is evident from the fact that in the 
wilderness of Sin on the sixth day the people, of 
their own accord, gathered a double portion of 
manna. And Moses said to them, "To-moiTOW 
is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord." ^ 
The brevity of the record in Genesis causes us 
to overlook many facts of the deepest interest. 
Adam lived 930 years. How deep and absorb- 
ing the interest that must have existed in the 
human family to see the first man ! To converse 
with one who had himself talked with God ! To 
hear from his lips a description of that paradise 
in which he had lived ! To learn from one cre- 
ated on the sixth day the wondrous events of the 
creation week ! To hear from his lips the very 

1 "The week, another primeval measure, is not a natural meas- 
ure of time, as some astronomers and chronologers have sup- 
posed, indicated bj the phases or quarters of the moon. It was 
originated by divine appointment at the creation— six davs of la- 
bor and one of rest being wisely appointed for man's physical and 
spiritual well-being." — Miss' Sacred Chronology, p. 6; Hale's 
Chronology, vol. i. p. 19, 

"Seven has been the ancient and honored number among the 
nations of the earth. They have measured their time by weeks 
from the beginning. The original of this was the Sabbath of 
God, as Moses has given the reasons of it in his writings." — 
Brief Dissertation on the first three Chapters of Genesis, ly Dr. 
Coleman, p. 26. 

2 Gen. 29 : 27, 28 ; 8 : 10, 12 ; 7 : 4, 10 ; 50 : 10 ; Ex. 7:25; Job 
2 : 13. 3 Ex. 16 : 22, 23. 


words of the Creator when he set apart his rest- 
day to a holy use ! And to learn, alas ! the sad 
story of the loss of paradise and the tree of life ! ^ 
It was therefore not difficult for the facts re- 
specting the six days of creation and the sanctifi- 
cation of the rest-day to be diffused among man- 
kind in the patriarchal age. Nay, it was impos- 
sible that it should be otherwise, especially among 
the godly. From Adam to Abraham a succession 
of tnen — probably inspired of God — preserved 
the knowledge of God upon earth. Thus Adam 
lived till Lamech, the father of Noah, was 56 
years of age ; Lamech lived till Shem, the son of 
Noah, was 93 ; Shem lived till Abraham was 150 
years of age. Thus are we brought down to 
Abraham, the father of the faithful. Of him it 
is recorded that he obeyed God's voice and kept 
his charge, his commandments, his statutes, and 
his laws. And of him the Most High bears the 
following testimony : " I know him, that he will 
command his children and his household after 
him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord to 
do justice and judgment."^ The knowledge of 
God was preserved in the family of Abraham; 
and we shall next find the Sabbatli familiarly 
mentioned among his posterity, as an existing in- 

1 The interest to see the first man is thus stated: "Sem and 
Seth were in great honor among men. and so was Adam above 
every living thing in the creation." Ecclesiasticus 4'J : IG. 

2 Gen. 26:5; 18:10. 




Object of this chapter — Total apostasy of the human family 
in the antediluvian age — Destruction of mankind-^The 
family of Noah spared — Second apostasy of mankind in the 
patriarchal age — The apostate nations left to their own 
ways — The family of Abraham chosen — Separated from 
the rest of mankind — Their history — Their relation to God 
— The Sabbath in existence when they came forth from 
Egypt — Analysis of Ex. IG — The Sabbath committed to 
the Hebrews. 

We are now to trace the history of divine truth 
for many ages in ahnost exclusive connection with 
the family of Abraham. That we may vindicate 
the truth from the reproach of pertaining only to 
the Hebrews — a reproach often urged against the 
Sabbath — and justify the dealings of God with 
mankind in leaving to their own ways the apostate 
nations, let us carefully examine the Bible for the 
reasons which directed divine Providence in the 
choice of Abraham's family as the despositaries of 
divine truth. 

The antediluvian world had been highly favored 
of God. The period of life extended to each gen- 
eration was twelve-fold that of the present age of 
man. For almost one thousand years, Adam, who 
had conversed with God in paradise, had been 
with them. Before the death of Adam, Enoch 
began his holy walk of three hundred years, and 
then he was translated that he should not see 
death. This testimony to the piety of Enoch was 
a powerful testimony to the antediluvians in be- 
half of truth and righteousness. Moreover the 
Spirit of God strove with mankind ; but the per- 


versity of man triumphed overall the gracious re- 
straints of the Holy Spirit. " And God sa^y that 
the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and 
that every imagination of the thoughts of his 
heart was only evil continually." Even the sons 
of God joined in the general apostasy. At last a 
single family was all that remained of the wor- 
shipers of the Most High.^ 

Then came the deluge, sweeping the world of its 
guilty inhabitants with the besom of destruction.^ 
So terrible a display of divine justice might well 
be thought sufficient to restrain impiety for ages. 
Surely the family of Noah could not soon forget 
this awful lesson. But alas, revolt and apostasy 
speedily follow^ed, and men turned from God to 
the worship of idols. Against the divine mandate 
separating the human family into nations,^ man- 
kind united in one great act of rebellion in the 
plain of Shinar. "And they said, Go to, let us 
build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach 
unto heaven ; and let us make us a name, lest we 
be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole 
earth." Then God confounded them in their im- 
piety and scattered them abroad from thence upon 
the face of all the earth .^ Men did not like to re- 
tain God in their knowledge ; wherefore God gave 
them over to a reprobate mind, and suffered them 
to change the truth of God into a lie, and to wor- 
ship and serve the creature rather than the Crea- 

1 Gen. 2-C ; Hcb. 11 : 4-7 ; 1 Pet. 3 : 20 ; 2 Pet. 2 : 5. 

2 Gen. r ; Matt. 24 : 37-39 ; Luke 17 : 26, 27 ; 2 Pet. 3 : 5, G. 

3 Deut. 32 : 7, 8 ; Acts 17 : 26. 

4 Gen. 11 : 1-9 ; Josephus' Ant., b. i. chap. iv. This took place 
in the days of Pelcg, who was born about one hundred years after 
the Hood. (;!en. 10:25, compared with 11:10-10; Ant., b. 
i. chap. vi. sect. 4. 


tor. Such was the origin of idolatry and of the 
apostasy of the Gentiles.^ 

In the midst of this wide-spread apostasy one 
man was found whose heart was faithful with God. 
Abraham was chosen from an idolatrous family, 
as the depositary of divine truth, the fatlier of 
the faithful, the heir of the world, and the friend 
of God.^ When the worshipers of God were found 
alone in the family of Noah, God gave up the rest 
of mankind to perish in the flood. Now that the 
worshipers of God are again reduced almost to a 
single family, God gives up the idolatrous nations 
to their own ways, and takes the family of Abra- 
ham as his peculiar heritage. " For I know him," 
said God, " that he will command his children and 
his household after him, and they shall keep the 
way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment."^ 
That they might preserve in the earth the knowl- 
edge of divine truth and the memory and worship 
of the Most High, they were to be a people walled 
off from all mankind, and d^^^lling in a land of 
their own. That they might thus be separated 
from the heathen around, God gave to Abraham 
the rite of circumcision, and afterward to his 
posterity the whole ceremonial law.* But they 
could not possess the land designed for them until 
the iniquity of the Amorites, its inhabitants, was 
full, that they should be thrust out before them. 
The horror of great darkness, and the smoking 
furnace seen by Abraham in vision, foreshadowed 
the iron furnace and the bitter servitude of Egypt. 

1 Rom. 1 : 18-32 ; Acts U : 16, 17 ; 17 : 29, 30. 

2 Gen. 12 : 1-3 ; Josh. 24 : 2. 3, l-i ; Neh. 9 : 7, 8 ; Rom. 4 : 13-17 ; 
2 Chron. 20 : 7 ; Isa. 41 : 8 ; James 2 : 23. ^ Gen. 18 : 19. 

"Gen. 17:9-14; 34: li; Acts 10:23; 11:2, 3; Eph. 2:12-19; 
Num. i;3 : 9 ; Deiu. 33 : 27, 28. 


The family of Abraham must go dovm thither. 
Brief prosperity and long and terrible oppression 

At length the power of the oppressor is broken, 
and the people of God are delivered. The expi- 
ration of four hundred and thirty years from the 
promise to Abraham marks the hour of dehver- 
ance to his posterity»^ The nation of Israel is 
brought forth from Egypt as God's peculiar treas- 
ure, that he may give them his Sabbath, and his 
law, and himself. The psalmist testifies that God 
" brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen 
with gladness : and gave them the lands of the 
heathen : and they inherited the labor of the peo- 
ple : that they might observe his statutes, and keep 
his laws. And the Most High sa3^s, " I am the 
Lord which hallow you, that brought you out of 
the land of Egypt, to he your God." ^ Not that 
the commandments of God, his Sabbath and him- 
self, had no prior existence, nor that the people 
were ignorant of the true God and his law; 
for the Sabbath was appointed to a holy use be- 
fore the fall of man ; and the commandments of 
God, his statutes and his laws, were kept by Abra- 
ham ; and the Israelites themselves, when some 
of them had violated the Sabbath, were reproved 
by the question, "How long refuse ye to keep my 
commandments and my laws ?" ^ And as to the 
Most High, the psalmist exclaims, " Before the 
mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst 
formed the earth and the world, even from ever- 
lasting to everlasting, thou art God." ^ But there 

1 Gen. 15 ; Ex. 1-5 ; Deut. 4 : 20. 2 Ex. 12 : 20-42 ; Gal. 3 : 17. 

3 Ps. 105 : 43-45 ; Lev. 22 : 32, 33 ; Num. 15 : 41. 

4 Gen. 2 : 2, 3 ; 20 : 5 ; Ex. 10 : 4, 27, 28 ; 18 : IG. '- Ps. 90 : 2. 


must be a formal public espousal of the people 
by God, and of his law and Sabbath and himself 
by the people.^ But neither the Sabbath, nor 
the law, nor the great Law-giver, by their con- 
nection with the Hebrews, became Jewish. The 
Law-giver indeed became the God of Israel,^ and 
what Gentile shall refuse him adoration for that 
reason ? but the Sabbath still remained the Sab- 
bath of the Lord;^ and the law continued to 
be the law of the Most High. 

In the month following their passage through 
the Red Sea, the Hebrews came into the wilder- 
ness of Sin. It is at this point in his narrative 
that Moses for the second time mentions the sanc- 
tified rest-day of the Creator. The people mur- 
mured for bread : 

'' Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain 
bread from heaven for you ; and the people shall go out 
and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove 
them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. And it 
shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall pre- 
j)are that which they bring in ; and it shall be twice as 

much as they gather daily I have heard the 

murmurings of the children of Israel : speak unto them, 
saying. At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye 
shall be filled with bread ; and ye shall know that I am 
the Lord your God. And it came to j)ass, that at even 
the quails came up, and covered the camp ; and in the 
morning the dew lay round about the host. And when 
the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of 
the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small 
as the hoar frost on the ground. And v\dien the children 
of Israel saw it, they said one to another. It is manna ; for 
they Avist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, 
This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. 
This is the thinc' wdiich the Lord hath commanded. Gather 

lEx. 19 : 3-8, 24 : 3-8 ; Jer. 3 : 14, compared with last clause of 
Jer. 31 : 32. 

2 Ex. 20 : 2 ; 24 : 10. 3 Ex. 20 : 10 ; Dent. 5 : 14 ; Neh. : 14. 


of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every 
man, according to the number of your persons ; take ye 
every man for them which are in his tents. And the 
children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some 
less. And when they did mete it with an omer, ho that 
gathered much liad nothing over, and he that gathered 
little had no lack ; they gathered every man according to 
his eating. And Moses said. Let no man leave of it till 
the morning. Notwithstanding they hearkened not nnto 
Moses ; but some of them left of it until the morning, 
and it bred worms, and stank ; and Moses was wroth with 
them. And thej gathered it every morning, every man 
according to his eating ; and when the sun waxed hot, it 
melted. And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they 
gathered twice as much bread, ^ two omers for one man ; 
and all the rulers of the congregation came and told INIoses. 
And he said unto them. This is that which the Lord hath 
said," To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the 

lOn this verse Dr. A. Clarke thus comments: — " On the sixth 
day they gathered twice as much — This thej did that they might 
have a provision for the Sabbath." 

2 The Douay Bible reads: "To-morrow is the rest of the Sab- 
bath sanctified unto the Lord." Dr. Clarke comments as follows 
upon this text: '^To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath] 
There is nothing either in the text or context that seems to inti- 
mate that the Sabbath was now first given to the Israelites, as 
some have supposed; on the contrary, it is here spoken of as be- 
ing perfectly well known, from its "having been generally ob- 
served. The commandment, it is true, may be considered as be- 
ing now renewed ; because they might have supposed, that in 
their unsettled state in the wilderness, they might have been ex- 
empted from the observance of it. Thus we find, 1. That when 
God finished his creation he instituted the Sabbath; 2. When he 
brought the people out of Egypt, he insisted on the strict ob- 
servance of it ; 3. When he gave the law, he made it a tenth part 
of the whole : such importance has this institution in the eyes of 
the Supreme Being!" 

Richard Baxter, a fiimous divine of the seventeenth century, 
and a decided advocate of the abrogation of the fourth com- 
mandment, in his " Divine Appointment of the Lord's Day," 
thus clearly states the origin of the Sabbath : Why should (jrod 
begin two thousand years after [the creation of the world] to 
give men a Sabbath upon the I'cason of his rest from the crea- 
tion of it, if he had never called man to that commemoration be- 
fore ? And it is certain that the Sabbath was observed at the fall- 
ing of the manna before the giving of the law; and let any con- 
sidering Christian judge 1. Whether the not falling of 


Lord : bake that wliicli ye will bake to-day, and seethe 
that ye will seethe ; and that which remaineth over 
lay up to be kept until the morning. And they laid it 
up till the morning, as Moses bade ; and it did not stink, 
neither was there any worm therein. And Moses said, 
Eat that to- day ; for to-day is a Sabbath unto the Lord : ^ 
to-day ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall 
gather it ; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, 
in it there shall be none. And it came to pass, that there 
went out some of the people on the seventh day for to 
gather, and they found none. And the Lord said unto 
Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments 
and my laws ? See, for that the Lord hath given you the 
Sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the 
bread of two days ; abide ye every man in his place, let 
no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the 
people rested on the seventh day." " 

This narrative shows, 1. That God had a law 
and commandments prior to the giving of the 
manna. 2. That God in giving his people bread 
from. heaven designed to prove them respecting 
his law. 3. That in this law was the holy Sab- 
bath ; for the test relative to walking in the law 
pertained directly to the Sabbath ; and when 
God said, " How long refuse ye to keep my com- 
mandments and my laws ?" it was the Sabbath 
which they had violated. 4. That in proving the 
people respecting this existing law, Moses gave 

the manna, or the rest of God after the creation, was like to be 
the original reason of the Sabbath. 2. And whether if it had 
been the first, it would not have been said, Remember to keep 
holy the Sabbath-day ; for on six days the manna fell, and not on 
the seventh; rather than ' for in six days God created heaven 
and earth, &c., and rested the seventh day.' And it is casually 
added, 'Wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath-day, and hal- 
lowed it.' Nay, consider whether this annexed reason intimates 
not that the day on this ground being hallowed before, therefore 
it was that God sent not down the manna on that day, and that 
he prohibited the people from seeking it." — Practical Worh^, 
Vol. iii. p. 784. ed. 1707. 

1 The Douay Bible reads: "Because it i^ the Sabbath of the 
Lord." 2 Ex. 16. 


no new precept respecting the Sabbath, but re- 
mained silent relative to the preparation for the 
Sabbath until after the people, of their own ac- 
cord, had gathered a double portion on the sixth 
day. 5, That by this act the people proved not 
only that they were not ignorant of the Sabbath, 
but that they were disposed to observe it.^ C. 
That the reckoning of the week, traces of which 
appear through the patriarchal age,^ had been 
rightly kept, for the people knew when the sixth 
day had arrived. 7. That had there been any 
doubt existing on that point, the fall of the man- 
na on the six days, the withholding of it on the 
seventh, and the preservation of that needed for 
the Sabbath over tbat day, must have settled 
that point incontrovertibly.'^ 8. That there was 
no act of instituting the Sabbath in the wilder- 
ness of Sin : for God did not then make it his 
rest-day, nor did he then bless and sanctify the 
day. On the contrary, the record shows that the 
seventh day was already the sanctified rest-day 

1 It has indeed been asserted that God by a miracle equalized 
the portion of every one on five days, and doubled the portion of 
each on the sixth, so that no act of the people had any bearing on 
the Sabbath. But the equal portion of each on the five days was 
not thus understood by Paul. He says: "But by an ecpiality, 
that now at this time jour abundance may be a supply for their 
want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want ; 
that there may be equality ; as it is written, lie that had gathered 
much had nothing over ; and he that had gathered little had no 
lack." 2 Cor. 8:14,15. And that the double portion on the 
sixth day was the act of the people, is affirmed by Moses. lie 
says that " on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread." 
Verse 22. 

■^ Gen. 7 : 4, 10 ; 8 : 10, 12, ; 29 : 27, 28 ; 50 : 10 ; Ex. 7 : 25 ; Job 

3 By this three-fold miracle, occurring every week for forty 
years, the gi-eat Law-giver distinguished his hallowed day. The 
people wcic thcrofbie admirably prepared to listen to the fourth 
commandment enjoining the observance of the very day on which 
lie had rested. E.v. K". : Sr. ; .losh. 5 : 12 : Ex. 20 : 8 IL 


of the Lord.^ 9. That the obligation to observe 
the Sabbath existed and was known before the 
fall of the manna. For the language used im- 
plies the existence of such an obligation, but does 
not contain a new enactment until after some of 
the people had violated the Sabbath. Thus God 
says to Moses, " On the sixth day they shall pre- 
pare that which they bring in/' but he does not 
speak of the seventh. And on the sixth day 
Moses says, '' To-morrow is the rest of the holy 
Sabbath unto the Lord," but he does not com- 
mand them to observe it. On the seventh day 
he says that it is the Sabbath, and that they 
should find no manna in the field. " Six days ye 
shall gather it ; but on the seventh day, which 
is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none." But 
in all this there is no precept given, yet the ex- 
istence of such a precept is plainl}^ implied. 10. 
That when some of the people violated the Sab- 
bath they were reproved in language which 
plainly implies a previous transgression of this 
precept. " How long refuse ye to keep my com- 
mandments and my laws ?" 11. And that this 
rebuke of the Law-giver restrained for the time 
the transgression of the people. 

" See, for that the Lord hath given you the Sab- 
bath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day 

1 The twelfth chapter of Exodus relates the origin of the pass- 
over. It is in striking contrast with Ex. 16, which is supposed to 
give the origin of the Sabbath. If the reader will compare the 
two chapters he will see the difference between the origin of an 
institution as given in Ex. 12, and a familiar reference to an ex- 
isting institution as in Ex. 16. If he will also compare Gen. 2 
with Ex. 12, he will see that the one gives the origin of the Sab- 
bath in the same manner that the other gives the origin of the 

SabbAth History. 4 


the bread of two days : ^ abide ye every man in 
his place, let no man go out of his place on the 
seventh day."- As a special trust, God com- 
mitted the Sabbath to the Hebrews. It was 
now given them, not now made for them. 
It was made for man at the close of the first 
week of time ; but all other nations having turned 
from the Creator to the worship of idols, it is 
given to the Hebrew people. Nor does this prove 
that all the Hebrews had hitherto disregarded it. 
For Christ uses the same language respecting cir- 
cumcision. Thus he says, Moses therefore gave 
unto you circumcision ; not because it is of Moses, 
but of the fathers."^ Yet God had enjoined that 
ordinance upon Abraham and his family four hun- 
dred years previous to this gift of it by Moses, and 
it had been retained by them.* 

The language, " The Lord hath given you the 
Sabbath," implies a solemn act of committing a 
treasure to their trust. How was this done ? No 
act of instituting the Sabbath here took place. 
No precept enjoining its observance was given 
until some of the people violated it, wdien it was 
given in the form of a reproof; which evinced a 
previous obligation, and that they were trans- 

1 This implies, first, the fall of a larger quantity on that day, 
and second, its preservation for the wants of the Sabbath. 

2 This must refer to going out for manna, as the connection im- 
plies ; for religious assemblies on the Sabbath were commanded 
and observed. Lev. 23 : 3 ; Mark 1 : 21 ; Luke 4 : 16 ; Acts 1:12; 
15:21. s John 7: 22. 

*Gen. 17; 34; Ex. 4. Moses is said to have given circumcision 
to the Hebrews; yet it is a singular ftict that his first mention of 
that ordinance is purely incidental, and plainly implies an exist- 
ing knowledge of it on' their part. Thus it is written : "Ttiis is 
the ordinance of the passover : There shall no stranger cat there- 
of; but every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou 
hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof " Ex. 12 : 43, 44. 
And in like manner when the Sabbath was given to Israel, that 
people wore not ignorant of the sacred institution. 


gressing an existing law. And this view is cer- 
tainly strengthened by the fact that no explana- 
tion of the institution was given to the people ; a 
fact which indicates that some knowledge of the 
Sabbath was already in their possession. 

But how then did God give them the Sabbath ? 
He did this, iii'st, by delivering them from the 
abject bondage of Egypt, where they were a na- 
tion of slaves. And second, by providing them 
food in such a manner as to impose the strongest 
obligation to keep the Sabbath. Forty years did 
he give them bread from heaven, sending it for 
six days, and withholding it on the seventh, and 
preserving food for them over the Sabbath. Thus 
was the Sabbath especially intrusted to them. 

As a gift to the Hebrews, the Creator's great 
memorial became a sign between God and them- 
selves. '' I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign 
between me and them, that they might know 
that I am the Lord that sanctify them." As a 
sign, its object is stated to be, to make known the 
true God ; and we are told why it was such a sign. 
" It is a sign between me and the children of Is- 
rael forever; for in six days the Lord made heav- 
en and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, 
and was refreshed." ^ The institution itself sig- 
nified that God created the heavens and the earth 
in six days and rested on the seventh. Its ob- 
servance by the people signified that the Creator 
was their God. How full of meaning was this sign ! 

The Sabbath was a sign between God and the 
children of Israel, because they alone were the 
worshipers of the Creator. All other nations had 
turned from him to "the gods that have not 
made the heavens and the earth." ^ For this 

lEze. 20:12: Ex. 31:17. ^Jer. 10:10-12. 


reason the memorial of the great Creator was 
committed to the Hebrews, and it became a sign 
between the Most High and themselves. Thus 
was the Sabbath a golden link uniting the Creator 
and his worshipers. 



The Holy One upon Mount Sinai — Three great gifts bestowed 
upon the Hebrews — The Sabbath proclaimed by the voice 
of God — Position assigned it in the moral law — Origin of 
the Sabbath — Definite character of the commandment — 
llevolution of the earth upon its axis — Name of the Sabbat- 
ic institution — Seventh day of the commandment identical 
with the seventh day of the New- Testament week — Testi- 
mony of Nehemiah — Moral obligation of the fourth com- 

And now we approach the record of that sub- 
lime event, the personal descent of the Lord upon 
Mount Sinai.^ The sixteenth chapter of Exodus, 
as we have seen, is remarkable for the fact that 
God gave to Israel the Sabbath ; the nineteenth 
chapter, for the fact that God gave himself to that 
people in solemnly espousing them as a holy na- 
tion unto himself; while the twentieth chapter 
will be found remarkable for the act of the Most 
High in giving to Israel his law. 

It is customary to speak against the Sabbath 
and the law as Jewish, because thus given to Is- 
rael. As well might the Creator be spoken 
against, who brought them out of Egypt to be 

1 That the Lord was there in person with his angels, see besides 
the narrative in Ex. 19; 20; 32-84, the following testimonies: 
Dent. -SO : 2 ; Judges o : -t ; Nehemiah : 0-13 ; V». OS : 17. 


their God, and who styles himself the God of Is- 
rael. ^ The Hebrews were honored by being thus 
intrusted with the Sabbath and the law, not the 
Sabbath and the law and the Creator rendered 
Jewish by this connection. The sacred writers 
speak of the high exaltation of Israel in being 
thus intrusted with the law of God. 

" He slioweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his 
judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any 
nation : and as for Ms judgments, they have not known 
them. Praise ye the Lord!" "What advantage then 
hath the Jew ? or what profit is there of circumcision ? 
Much every way : chiefly, because that unto them were 
committed the oracles of God." " AYho are Israelites; 
to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the 
covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of 
God, and the promises ; whose are the fathers, and of 
whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, 
God blessed forever. Ainen." " 

After the Most High had solemnly espoused 
the people unto himself, as his peculiar treasure 
in the earth, ^ they were brought forth out of the 
camp to meet with God. " And Mount Sinai was 
altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended 
upon it in fii'e : and the smoke thereof ascend- 
ed as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole 
mount quaked greatly." Out of the midst of this 
fire did God proclaim the ten words of his law. ^ 

1 Ex. 24 : 10 ; Lev. 22 : 32, 33 ; Num. 15 : 41 ; Isa. 41 : 17. 

2Ps. 147 : 10, 20 ; Rom. 3:1, 2 ; 9 : 4, 5. The following from 
the pen of Mr. Wm. Miller presents the subject in a clear light : 
''I say, and believe I am supported by the Bible, that the moral 
law was never given to the Jews as a people exclusively ; but 
they were for a season the keepers of it in charge. And through 
them the law, oracles, and testimony, have been handed dovvn to 
us. See Paul's clear reasoning in Rom. chapters 2, 3, and 4, on 
that point." — Miller'' s Life and Views, p. 161. 

3Ex. 19; Deut. 7: 6; 14: 2; 2 Sam. 7 : 23 ; 1 Kings S : 53 ; Amos 

■» Ex. 20 : 1-17 ; 34 : 28, margin; Deut. 5 : 4-22 ; 10 : 4, margin. 


The fourth of these precepts is the grand law of 
the Sabbath. Thus spake the great Lawgiver : — 

''Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six 
days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work : but the sev- 
enth day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God : in it thou 
shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daugh- 
ter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid- servant, nor thy cat- 
tle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates : for in six 
days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all 
that in them is, and rested the seventh day : wherefore 
the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and halloAved it." 

The estimate which the Law-giver placed upon 
his Sabbath is seen in that he deemed it worthy 
of a place in his code of ten commandments, thus 
causing it to stand in the midst of nine immuta- 
ble moral precepts. Nor is this to be thought a 
small honor that the Most High, naming one by 
one the great principles of morality until all are 
given, and he adds no more,^ should include in 
their number the observance of his hallowed rest- 
day. This precept is expressly given to enforce 
the observance of the Creator's great memorial ; 
and unlike all the others, this one traces its obli- 
gation back to the creation, where that memorial 
was ordained. 

The Sabbath is to be remembered and kept 
holy because that God hallowed it, i. c, appointed 
it to a holy use, at the close of the first week. 
And this sanctification or hallowing of the rest- 
day, when the first seventh day of time was past, 
was the solemn act of setting apart the seventh 
day for time to come in memory of the Creator's 
rest. Thus the fourth commandment reaches 
back and embraces the institution of the Sabbath 
in paradise, while the sanctification of the Sab- 

1 Dent. 5 : 22, 


bath in paradise extends forward to all coming 
time. The narrative respecting the wilderness of 
Sin admirably cements the union of the two. 
Thus in the wilderness of Sin, before the fourth 
commandment was given, stands the Sabbath, 
holy to the Lord, with an existing obligation to 
observe it, though no commandment in that nar- 
rative creates the obligation. This obligation is 
derived from the same source as the fourth com- 
mandment, namely, the sanctification of the Sab- 
bath in paradise, showing that it was an existing 
duty, and not a new precept. For it should never 
be forgotten that the fourth commandment does 
not trace its obligation to the wilderness of Sin, 
but to the creation ; a decisive proof that the 
Sabbath did not orio^inate in the wilderness of Sin. 
The fourth commandment is remarkably defi- 
nite. It embraces, first, a precept : " Remember 
the Sabbath day, to keep it holy ;" second, an ex- 
planation of this precept : " Six days shalt thou 
labor, and do all thy work ; but the seventh day 
is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God : in it thou 
shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy 
daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, 
nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within 
thy gates ;" third, the reasons on which the pre- 
cept is based, embracing the origin of the insti- 
tution, and the very acts by which it was made, 
and enforcing all by the example ^ of the Law- 
giver himself : "for in six days the Lord made 
heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them 
is, and rested the seventh day : wherefore the 
Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." 

iHe whd created the world on the first day of the week, and 
completed its organization in six days, rested on the seventh day, 
and was refreshed, (ien. 1 ; 2 ; f]x. 31 : 17. 


The rest-day of the Lord is thus distinguished 
from the six days on which he labored. The 
blessing and sanctification pertain to the day of 
the Creator's rest. There can be, therefore, no 
indefiniteness in the precept. It is not merely 
one day in seven, but that day in the seven on 
which the Creator rested, and upon which he 
placed his blessing, namety, the seventh day.^ 
And this day is definitely pointed out in the 
name given it by God : " The seventh day is the 
Sabbath [i c, the rest-day] of the Lord thy God." 

That the seventh day in the fourth command- 
ment is the seventh day of the New-Testament 
week may be plainly proved. In the record of 
our Lord's burial, Luke writes thus : — 

"And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath 
drew on. And the ivomen also which came with him 
from GaHlee, followed after, and beheld the sepulcher, 
and how his body was laid. And they returned, and pre- 
pared spices and ointments ; and rested the Sabbath day 
according to the commandment. Now upon the first day 
of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto 
the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had pre- 
pared, and certain others with them."" 

Luke testifies that these women kept "the 
Sabbath day according to the commandment." 

» To this, however, it is objected that in consequence of the rev- 
oUition of the earth on its axis, the da}' begins earlier in the 
East than with us; and hence that there is no definite seventh 
day to the world of mankind. To suit such objectors, the earth 
ought not to revolve. But in that case, so far from removing the 
difficulty, there would be no seventh day at all ; for one side of 
the globe would have perpetual day and the other side perpetual 
night. The truth is, everything depends upon the revolution of 
the earth. God made the Sabbath for man [Mark 2:\i7]; he 
made man to dwell on all the face of the earth [Acts 17 : 2GJ ; he 
caused the earth to revolve on its axis that it might measure otf 
the days of the week ; causing that the sun should shine on the 
earth, as it revolves fiom west to east, thus causing the day to go 
round the world from east to west. Seven of these revolutions 
constitute a week; the seventh one brings the Sabbath to all the 
world. 2 Luke 23 : 54-50 ; 24 :1 . 


The commandment says, " The seventh day is the 
Sabbath of the Lord thy God." This day thus 
observed vv^as the last or seven tli day of the week, 
for the following^ day was the first day of the 
week. Hence the seventh xlay of the command- 
ment is the seventh day of the New-Testament 

The testimony of Nehemiah is deeply interest- 
ing. " Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai, 
and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest 
them right judgments, and true laws, good stat- 
utes and commandments : and madest known 
nnto them thy holy Sabbath, and commandedst 
them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of 
Moses thy servant."" It is remarkable that God 
is said to have made known the Sabbath when 
he thus came down upon the mount ; for the chil- 
dren of Israel had the Sabbath in possession when 
they came to Sinai. This language must there- 
fore refer to that complete unfolding of the Sab- 
batic institution which is given in the fourth com- 
mandment. And mark the expression : " Madest 
known '^ unto them thy holy Sabbath;" not 
madest the Sabbath for them : language which 
plainly implies its previous existence, and which 
cites the mind back to the Creator's rest for the 
oriojin of the institution.^ 

1 See also Matt. 28 : 1 ; Mark 16 : 1, 2. 2 Neh. 9 : 13, 14. 

3 This expression is strikingly illnstrated in the statement of 
Eze. 20 : 5, where God is said to have made himself known unto 
Israel in Eijypt. This language cannot mean that the people were 
ignorant of tlie true God, however wicked some of them might 
be, for they had been God's peculiar people from the days of Abra- 
ham. Ex. 2:23-25; 3:6,7; 4:31. The language implies the 
prior existence both of the Law-giver and of his S.ibbath, when 
it is said that they were "made known " to his people. 

4 It should never be forgotten that the term Sabbath day signi- 
fies rest-day; that the Sabbath of the Lord is the rest-day of the 


The moral obligation of the fourth command- 
ment which is so often denied may be clearly 
shown by reference to the origin of all things. 
God created the world and gave existence to 
man upon it. To him he gave life and breath, 
and all things. Man therefore owes everything 
to God. Every faculty of his mind, every power 
of his being, all his strength and all his time 
belong of right to the Creator. It was therefore 
the benevolence of the Creator that gave to man 
six days for his own wants. And in setting apart 
the seventh day to a holy use in memory of his 
own rest, the Most High was reserving unto him- 
self one of the seven days, when he could rightly 
claim all as his. The six days therefore are the 
gift of God to man, to be rightly employed in 
secular affairs, not the seventh day, the gift of 
man to God. The fourth commandment, there- 
fore, does not require man to give something of 
his own to God, but it does require that man 
should not appropriate to himself that whicli God 
has reserved for his own worship. To observe 
this day then is to render to God of the things 
that are his; to appropriate it to ourselves is 
simply to rob God. 

Lord; and hence that the expression, "Thy holy Sabbath," re- 
fers the mind to the Creator's rest-day, and to his act of blessing 
and hallowing it. 




Classification of the precepts given through Moses — The 
Sabbath renewed — Solemn ratification of the covenant be- 
tween God and Israel — Moses called up to receive the law 
which God had written upon stone — The ten command- 
ments probably proclaimed upon the Sabbath — Events of 
the forty days — The Sabbath becomes a sign between God 
and Israel — The penalty of death — The tables of testimony 
given to ]Moses — And broken when he saw the idolatry of 
the people — The idolaters punished — Moses goes up to re- 
new the tables — The Sabbath again enjoined — The tables 
given again — The ten commandments were the testimony 
of God — Who- wrote them — Three distinguished honors 
■which pertain to the Sabbath — The ten commandments a 
complete code — Relation of the fourth commandment to 
the atonement — Valid reason why God himself should 
■write that law which was placed beneath the mercy-seat. 

When the voice of the Holy One had ceased, 
"the people stood afar off, and Moses drew Eear 
unto the thick darkness where God was." A I r' ef 
interview follows ^ in which God gives to Moses a 
series of precepts, which, as a sample of the stat- 
utes given through him, may be classified thus : 
Ceremonial precepts, pointing to the good things 
to come ; judicial precepts, intended for the civil 
government of the nation ; and moral precepts, 
stating anew in other forms the ten command- 
ments. In this brief interview the Sabbath is 
not forgotten : — 

' ' Six days thou slialt do tliy -work, and on the seventh 
day thou shalt rest ; that thine ox and thine ass may rest, 
and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be 
refreshed." " 

This scripture furnishes incidental proof that 

1 Ex. 20-24. 2 Ex. 23 : 12. 


the Sabbath was made for mankind, and for those 
creatures that share the labors of man. The 
stranger and the foreigner must keep it, and it 
was for tlieir refreshment.^ But the same per- 
sons coukl not partake of the passover until they 
were made members of the Hebrew church by 

When Moses had returned unto the people, he 
repeated all the words of the Lord. With one 
voice all the people exclaim, " All the words which 
the Lord hath said will we do." Then Moses 
wrote all the words of the Lord. " And he took 
the book of the covenant and read in the audience 
of the people : and they said, All that the Lord 
hath said will we do, and be obedient." Then 
Moses " sprinkled both the book and all the peo- 
ple, saying, This is the blood of the testament 
which God hath enjoined unto you."^ 

The way was thus prepared for God to bestow 
a second signal honor upon his law : — 

"And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into 
the mount, and be there : and I will give thee tables of 
stone, and a law, and commandments which I have 
written ; that thou may est teach them. . . . And 
Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the 
mount. And the glory of the Lord abode upon Mount 
Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days : and the seventh 
day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. * 

1 See also Ex. 20 : 10 ; Deut. 5 : 14 ; Isa. 56. 

2 Ex. 12:43^8. 3 Ex. 24: 3-8; Heb. 9 : 18-20, 
''Dr. Clarke has the following note on this verse : " It is very. 

likely that Moses went up into the mount on the first day of the 
week ; and having with Joshua remained in the region of the 
cloud during six da3's, on the seventh, which was the Sabbath, 
God spake to liim." — (Jommentary on Ex. 24: 1(5. The marking 
off of a week from the foity days in this remarkable mnnuer 
goes far toward establishing the view of Dr. C. And if this be 
correct, it would strongly indicate that the ten commandments 
were given upon the Sabbath ; for there seems to be good evi- 


And the sight of the glory of the Lord wus like devouring 
fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of 
Israel. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, 
and gat him up into the mount ; and Moses was in the 
mount forty days and forty nights."^ 

During this forty days God gave to Moses a 
pattern of the ark in whicli to place the law that 
he had written upon stone, and of the mercy- seat 
to place over that law, and of the sanctuary in 
which to deposit the ark. He also ordained the 
priesthood, which was to minister in the sanctu- 
ary before the ark. " These things being ordained, 
and the Law-giver about to commit his law as 
written by himself into the hands of Moses, he 
again enjoins the Sabbath : — 

"And the Lord spake unto Moses saying, Speak thou 
also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sab- 
baths ye shall keep ; for it is a sign between me and you 
throughout your generations ; that ye may know that I 
am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the 
JSabbath therefore ; for it is holy unto you : every one 
that defileth it shall surely be put to death ; for whoso- 
ever doeth any w^ork therein, that soul shall be cut off 
from among his people. Six daj'-s may work be done ; 
but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the 
Lord : whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he 
shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of 
Israel shall keep the Sabbath to observe the Sabbath 
throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 
It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever : 
for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the 
seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. And he gave unto 
Moses, when he had made an end of communing with hi en 

dence that they were given the day before Moses went up to re- 
ceive the tables of stone. For the interview in which chapters 
21-23 were given would require but a brief space, and certainly 
followed immediately upon the giving of the ten commandments. 
Ex. 20: 18-21. When the interview closed, Moses came down to 
the people and wrote all the words of the Lord. In the morning 
he rose up early, and, having ratified the covenant, went up to 
receive the law which God had written. Ex. 24 : 3-13. 

'Ex. 24: 12-18. -^Ex. 25-01. 


"upon Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written 
with the finger of God." ^ 

This should be compared with the testimony of 
Ezekiel, speaking in the name of God : — 

''I gave them my statutes, and showed them my judg- 
ments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them . More- 
over also I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between 
me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord 

that sanctify them I am the Lord your God : 

walk in my statute 3, and keep my judgments, and do 
them ; and hallow my Sabbaths ; and they shall be a 
sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am 
the Lord your God."^ 

It will be observed that neither of these script- 
ures teach that the Sabbath was made for Israel, 
nor yet do they teach that it was made after the 
Hebrews came out of Egypt. In neither of these 
particulars do they even seem to contradict those 
texts that place the institution of the Sabbath at 
creation. But we do learn, 1. That it was God's 
act of giving to the Hebrews his Sabbath that 
made it a sign between theiii and himself " I 
gave them my Sabbaths TO be a sign between 
me and them." This act of committing to them 
the Sabbath has been noticed already. ^ 2. That 
it was to be a sign between God and the Hebrews, 
" that they might know that I am the Lord that 
sanctify them." Wherever the word Lord in the 
Old Testament is in small capitals, as in the texts 
under consideration, it is in the Hebrew, Jehovah. 
The Sabbath tlien as a sign signified that it was 
Jehovah, i. e., the infinite, self- existent God, who 
had sanctified them. To sanctify is to separate, 
set apart, or appoint, to a holy, sacred or religious 

»Ex. 31 : 12-18. ^Eze. 20:11, 12, 19, 20. 

3 See third chapter of this work. 


apart in the most remarkable manner from all 
mankind, was sufficiently evident. But who was 
it that had thus separated them from all other 
people ? As a gracious answer to this important 
question, God gave to the Hebrews his own hal- 
lowed rest-day. But how could the great me- 
morial of the Creator determine such a question ? 
Listen to the words of the Most High : " Verily 
my Sabbaths," i. e., my rest-days, " ye shall keep ; 

for it is a sign between me and you It is a 

sign between me and the children of Israel for- 
ever ; for in six days the Lord made heaven and 
earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was 
refreshed." The Sabbath as a sign between God 
and Israel, was a perpetual testimony that he 
who had separated them from all mankind as his 
peculiar treasure in the earth, was that Being 
who had created the heavens and the earth in 
six days and rested on the seventh. It was there- 
fore the strongest possible assurance that he who 
sanctified them was indeed Jehovah. 

From the days of Abraham God had set apart 
the Hebrews. He who had previously borne no 
local, national or family name, did from that time 
until the end of his covenant relation with the 
Hebrew race, take to himself such titles as seemed 
to show him to be their God alone. From his 
choice of Abraham and his family forward he des- 
ignates himself as the God of Abraham, of Isaac, 

i"To sanctify, hadasJi, signifies to consecrate, separate, and 
set apart a thing or person from all secular purposes to some 
religious use." Clarke's Commentary on Ex. 13:2. The same 
writer says, on Ex. 19 : 23, "Here the word kadasli is taken in 
its proper, literal sense, signifying the separating of a thing, 
person, or place, from all profane or common uses, and devoting 
It to saered purposes. 


and of Jacob ; the God of the Hebrews, and the 
God of Israel. ^ He brought Israel out of Egypt 
to be their God," and at Smai did join himself to 
them in solemn espousal. He did thus set apart 
or sanctify unto himself the Hebrews, because 
that all other nations had given themselves to 
idolatry. Thus the God of Heaven and earth 
condescended to give himself to a single race, and 
to set them apart from all mankind. It should 
be observed that it was not the Sabbath which 
had set Israel apart from all other nations, but 
it was the idolatry of all other nations that 
caused God to set the Hebrews apart for himself; 
and that God gave to Israel the Sabbath which 
he had hallowed for mankind at creation as the 
most expressive sign that he who thus sanctified 
them was indeed the living God. 

It was the act of God in giving his Sabbath to 
the Israelites that rendered it a sign hehveeii them 
and himself. But the Sabbath did not derive its 
existence from being thus given to the Hebrews ; 
for it w^as the ancient Sabbath of the Lord when 
given to them, and we have seen ^ that it was not 
given by a new commandment. On the contrary, 
it rested at that time upon existing obligation. 
But it was the providence of God in behalf of the 
Hebrews, first in rescuing them from abject servi- 
tude, and second, in sending them bread from 
heaven for six days, and preserving food for the 
Sabbath, that constituted the Sabbath a gift to 
that people. And mark the significancy of the 
raanner in which this gift was bestowed, as show- 
ing who it was that sanctified them. It became 
a gift to the Hebrews by the wonderful provi- 

1 Gen. 17 : r, 8 ; 26 : 24 ; 28 : 13 ; Ex. 3 : 6, 13-16, 18 ; 5:3; Isa. 
45 ; 3. = Lev. 11 : 45. ^ See chapter third. 


dence of the manna : a miracle that ceased not 
openly to declare the Sabbath every week for the 
space of forty years ; thus showing incontroverti- 
bly that He who led them was the author of the 
Sabbath, and therefore the Creator of heaven and 
earth. That the Sabbath which was made for 
man should thus be given to the Hebrews is cer- 
tainly not more remarkable than that the God of 
the whole earth should give his oracles and him- 
self to that people. The Most High and his law 
and Sabbath did not become Jewish; but the 
Hebrews were made the honored depositaries of 
divine truth ; and the knowledge of God and of 
his commandments was preserved in the earth. 

The reason on which this sign is based, points 
unmistakably to the true origin of the Sabbath. 
It did not originate from the fall of the manna for 
six days and its cessation on the seventh — for the 
manna was given thus because the Sabbath was 
in existence — but because that " in six days the 
Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh 
day he rested and was refreshed." Thus the 
Sabbath is shown to have originated with the 
rest and refreshment of the Creator, and not at 
the fall of the manna. As an institution, the 
Sabbath declared its Author to be the Creator of 
heaven and earth; as a sign ^ between God and 

1 As a sign it did not thereby become a shadow and a cere- 
mony, for the Lord of the Sabbath was himself a sign. "Be- 
hold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for 
signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which 
dwelleth in Mount Zion. Isa. 8 : 18. In Heb. 2 : 13, this language 
is referred to Christ. "And Simeon blessed them, and said unto 
Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising 
again of many in Israel ; and for a sign which shall be spoken 
against." Luke 2 : 34. That the Sabbath was a sign between 
God and Israel throughout their generations, that is, for tbe 
time that they were his peculiar people, no more proves that it is 
now abolished than the fact that Jesus is now a sign that is 
Sabbath History. r» 


Israel, it declared that he who had set them apart 
was indeed Jehovah. 

The last act of the Law-giver in this memorable 
interview was to place in the hands of Moses the 
" two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written 
with the finger of God." Then he revealed to 
Moses the sad apostasy of the people of Israel, 
and hastened him down to them. 

^' And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, 
and the two tables of the testimony vrere in his hand : 
the tables were written on both their sides : on the one 
side and on the other were they written. And the tables 
were the work of God, and the writing was the writing 
of God, graven upon the tables. . . . And it came to 
pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw 
the calf, and the dancing : and Moses' anger waxed hot, 
and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them 
beneath the mount." 

Then Moses inflicted retribution upon the idol- 
aters, " and there fell of the people that day about 

spoken against proves that he will cease to exist when he shall 
no longer be such a sign. Nor does this language argue that the 
Sabbath was made for them, or that its obligation ceased when 
they ceased to be the people of God. For the prohibition against 
eating blood was a perpetual statute for their generations; yet it 
was given to ISToah when God first permitted the use of animal 
food, and was still obligatory upon the Gentiles when the apos- 
tles turned to them. Lev. 3 : 17 ; Gen. 9 : 1-4; Acts 15. 

The penalty of death at the hand of the civil magistrate is 
affixed to the violation of the Sabbath. The same penalty is 
affixed to most of the precepts of the moral law. Lev. 20; 9, 10; 
24 : 15-17 ; Deut. 13 : 6-18 ; 17 : 2-7. It should be remembered 
that the moral law embracing the Sabbath formed a part of the 
CIVIL code of the Hebrew nation. As such, the great Law-giver 
annexed penalties to be inflicted bv the magistrate, thus doubt- 
less shadowing forth the final retribution of the ungodly. Such 
penalties were suspended by that remarkable decision of the 
Saviour that those who were without sin should cast the first 
stone. But such a Being will arise to punish men, when the 
hailstones of his wrath shall desolate the earth. Our Lord did 
not, however, set aside the real penalty of the law, tlie wa^es of 
sin, nor did he weaken that precept which had been violated. 
John 8:1-9; Job 3S : 22, 23 ; Lsa. 2S : 17 ; Rev. IG : 17-2J ; Rom. 
fi : 23. 


three thousand men." And Moses returned unto 
God and interceded in behalf of the people. Then 
God promised that his angel should go with them, 
but that he himself would not go up in their 
midst lest he should consume them. ^ Then Mo- 
ses presented an earnest supplication to the Most 
High that he might see his glory. This petition 
was granted, saving that the face of God should 
not be seen. ^ 

' But before Moses ascended that he might be- 
hold the majesty of the infinite Law-giver, the 
Lord said unto him : — 

' ' Hew tliee two tables of stone like unto the first : and 
I will write upon these tables the words that were in the 
first tables, which thou brakest. . . . And he hewed two 
tables of stone like unto the first ; and Moses rose up 
early in the morning, and went up unto Mount Sinai, as 
the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand the 
two tables of stone. And the Lord descended in the 
cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the 
name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him." 

Then Moses beheld the glory of the Lord, and 
he " made haste and bowed his head toward the 
earth and worshiped." This interview lasted 
forty days and forty nights, as did the first, and 
seems to have been spent by Moses in intercession 
that God would not destroy the people for their 
sin. ^ The record of this period is very brief, but 
in this record the Sabbath is mentioned. " Six 
days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day 
thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest 
thou shalt rest." ^ Thus admonishinor them not to 

1 This fact will shed light upon those texts which introduce the 
agencj of angels in the giving of the law. Acts 7 : 38, 53 ; Gal. 
3 : 19 ; Heb. ii : 2. ^ Ex. 32 ; 33. 3 Ex. 3i ; Deut. 0. 

^ Ex. 34:21. 


forget in their busiest season the Sabbath of the 

This second period of forty days ends like the 
fii'st with the act of God in placing the tables of 
stone in the hands of Moses. " And he was there 
with the Lord forty days and forty nights ; he 
did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he ^ 
wrote upon the tables the words of the cov^enant, 
the ten commandments." Thus it appears that 
the tables of testimony were two tables of stond 
with the ten commandments written upon them 
by the finger of God. Thus the testimon}^ of 
God is shown to be the ten commandments. The 
writing on the second tables was an exact copy 
of that on the first. "Hew thee two tables of 
stone like unto the first ; and I will write," said 
God, "upon these tables the words that were in 
the first tables, which thou brakest." And of 

1 The idea has been suggested by some from this verse that 
it was Moses and not God who wrote the second tables. This 
view is thought to be strengthened by the previous verse : " Write 
thou these words : for after the tenor of these words I have made 
a covenant with thee and with Israel." But it is to be observed 
that the words upon the tables of stone were the ten command- 
ments ; while the words liere referred to were those which God 
spoke to Moses during this interview of forty days, beginning 
with verse 10 and extending to verse 27. That the pronoun he in 
verse 28 might properly enough refer to Moses, if positive testi- 
mony did not forbid such reference, is readily admitted. That it 
is necessary to attend to the connection in deciding the anteced- 
ents of i^ronouns, is strikingly illustrated in 2 Sam. 2i : 1, where 
the pronoun he would naturally refer to the Lord, thus making 
God the one who moved David to number Israel. Yet the con- 
nection shows that this was not the case ; for the anger of the 
Lord was kindled by the act; and 1 Chron. 21 : 1, positively de- 
clares that Ae who thus moved David was Satan. For positive 
testimony that it was God and not Moses who wrote upon the sec- 
ond tables, see Ex. 34 : 1 ; Deut. 10 : 1-5. These texts carefully 
discriminate between the work of Moses and the work of God, 
assigning the preparation of the tables, the carrying of them up 
to the mount and the bi'inging of them down from the mount, to 
Moses, but expressly assigning the writing on the tables to (iod 


the first tables Moses says : " He declared unto 
you his covenant, which he commanded you to 
perform, even ten commandments ; and he wrote 
them upon two tables of stone." * 

Thus did God commit to his people the ten 
commandments. Without human or angelic 
agency he proclaimed them himself; and not 
trusting his most honored servant Moses, or even 
an angel of his presence, himself wrote them with 
his own finger. " Remember the Sabbath day, to 
keep it holy," is one of the ten words thus hon- 
ored by the Most High. Nor are these two high 
honors the only ones conferred upon this precept. 
While it shares them in common with the other 
nine commandments, it stands in advance of them 
in that it is established by the example of the 
Law-giver himself These precepts were given 
upon two tables with evident reference to the 
two-fold division of the law of God; supreme 
love to God, and the love of our neighbor as our- 
selves. The Sabbath commandment, placed at 
the close of the first table, forms the golden clasp 
that binds together botli divisions of the moral 
law. It guards and enforces that day which God 
claims as his; it follows man through the six 
days which God has given him to be properly 
spent in the various relations of life, thus extend- 
ing over the whole of human life, and embracing 
in its loan of six days to man all the duties of 
the second table, while itself belonm no- to the first. 

That these ten commandments form a complete 
code of moral law is proved by the language of 
the Law-giver when he called Moses up to him- 
self to receive them. " Come up to me into the 

1 Ex. 34 : 1, 28 ; Dent. 4 : 12, 13 ; 5 : 22. 


mount, and be there : and I will give thee tables 
of stone, and a law, and commandments which I 
have written."^ This law and commandments 
was the testimony of God engraven upon stone. 
The same great fact is presented by Moses in his 
blessing pronounced upon Israel : "And he said. 
The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir 
unto them : he shined forth from Mount Paran, 
and he came with ten thousands of saints : froni 
his right hand went a fiery law for them." ^ There 
can be no dispute that in this language the Most 
High is represented as personally present with 
ten thousands of his holy ones, or angels. And 
that which he wrote with his own right hand is 
called by Moses " a fiery law," or as the margin 
has it, "a fire of law." And now the man of God 
completes his sacred trust. And thus he rehearses 
what God did in committing his law to him, and 
what he himself did in its final disposition : " And 
he wrote on the tables, according to the first writ- 
ing, the ten commandments, which the Lord 
spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of 
the fire in the day of the assembly: and the 
Lord gave them unto me. And I turned myself 
and came down from the mount, and put the ta- 
bles in the ark which I had made ; and there 
they be, as the Lord commanded me." Thus was 
the law of God deposited in the ark beneath the 
mercy-seat."^ Nor should this chapter close with- 
out pointing out the important relation of the 
fourth commandment to the atonement. 

The top of the ark was called the mercy-seat, 

1 Ex. 24 : 12. 

2 Deut. 33 : 2. That angels are sometimes called saints or holy 
ones, see Dan. 8 : 13-16. That anp^cls were present with God at 
Sinai, see I\s. OS : 17. " Dent. 10 : 1, .".; Ex. 25 : 10-22. 


because all those who had broken the law con- 
tained in the ark beneath the mercy-seat, could 
find pardon by the sprinkling of the blood of 
atonement upon it. 

The law within the ark was that which de- 
manded an atonement ; the ceremonial law which 
ordained the Levitical priesthood and the sacrifices 
for sin, was that which taught men how the 
atonement could be made. The broken law was 
beneath the mercy-seat ; the blood of sin-offering 
was sprinkled upon its top, and pardon was ex- 
tended to the penitent sinner. There was actual 
sin, and hence a real law which man had broken ; 
but there was not a real atonement, and hence 
the need of the great antitype to the Levitical 
sacrifices. The real atonement when it is made 
must relate to that law respecting which an 
atonement had been shadowed forth. In other 
words, the shadowy atonement related to that 
law which was shut up in the ark, indicating 
that a real atonement was demanded by that 
law. It is necessary that the law which de- 
mands atonement, in order that its transgressor 
may be spared, should itself be perfect, else the 
fault would in part at least rest with the Law- 
giver, and not wholly with the sinner. Hence, 
the atonement when made does not take away 
the broken law, for that is perfect, but is expressly 
designed to take away the guilt of the trans- 
gressor. ^ Let it be remembered then that the 
fourth commandment is one of the ten precepts 
of God's broken law ; one of the immutable holy 
principles that made the death of God's only Son 
necessary before pardon could be extended to 

J 1 John 3 : 4, 5. 


guilty man. These facts being borne in mind, it 
will not be thought strange that the Law-giver 
should reserve the proclamation of such a law to 
himself; and that he should intrust to no cre- 
ated being the writing of that law which should 
demand as its atonement the death of the Son 
of God. 



General history of the Sabbath in the wilderness — Its viola- 
tion one cause of excluding that generation from the prom- 
ised land — Its violation by their children in the wilderness 
one of the causes of their final dispersion from their own 
land — The statute respecting fires upon the Sabbath — Va- 
rious precepts relative to the Sabbath — The Sabbath not a 
Jewish feast — The man who gathered sticks upon the Sab- 
bath — Appeal of Moses in behalf of the decalogue — The 
Sabbath not derived from the covenant at Horeb — Final 
appeal of Moses in behalf of the Sabbath — The original 
fourth commandment — The Sabbath not a memorial of the 
flight from Egypt — What words were engraven upon stone 
— General summary from the books of INIoses. 

The history of the Sabbath during the provo- 
cation in the day of temptation in the wilderness 
when God was giieved for forty years with his 
people may be stated in few words. Even under 
the eye of Moses, and with the most stupendous 
miracles in their memory and before tlieir eyes, 
they were idolaters, ^ neglecters of sacrifices, neg- 
lecters of circumcision, " murmurers against God, 
despisers of his law ^ and violators of his Sab- 

1 Ex. 32 ; Josh. 24 : 2, 14, 23 ; E/.e. 20 : 7, 8, 16, IS, 24. 

2 Amos 5 : 25-27 ; Acts 7 : 41-43 ; Josh. 5 : 2-8. 

3 Num. 14 ; Ph. !)5 ; Eze. 20 : 13. 


bath. Of their treatment of the Sabbath while 
in the wilderness, Ezekiel gives us the following 
graphic description : — 

" But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the 
wilderness : they walked not in my statutes, and they 
despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even 
live in them ; and my Sabbaths they greatly polluted : 
then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the 
wilderness, to consume them. But I wrought for my 
name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the 
heathen, in whose sight I brought them out." ^ 

This language shows a general violation of the 
Sabbath, and evidently refers to the apostasy of 
Israel during the first forty days that Moses was 
absent from them. God did then purpose their 
destruction; but at the intercession of Moses, 
spared them for the very reason assigned by the 
prophet.^ A farther probation being granted them 
they signally failed a second time, so that God 
lifted up his hand to them that they should not 
enter the promised land. Thus the prophet con- 
tinues : — 

" Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilder- 
ness, that I would not bring them into the land which I 
had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is 
the glory of all lands ; because they despised my judg- 
ments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my 
Sabbaths : for their heart went after their idols. Never- 
theless mine eye spared them from destroying them, 
neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness." 

This language has undoubted reference to the 
act of God in excluding all that were over twenty 
years of age from entering the promised land. ' 
It is to be noticed that the violation of the Sab- 
bath is distinctly stated as one of the reasons for 
which that generation were excluded from the 

1 Eze. 20 : 13-24. 2 Ex. 32. 3 Xum. 14. 


land of promise. God spared the people so that 
the nation was not utterly cut off; for he ex- 
tended to the younger part a further probation. 
Thus the prophet continues : — 

"But I said unto their children in the wilderness, 
Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither ob- 
serve their judgments, nor dehle yourselves with their 
idols : I am the Lord your God ; walk in my statutes, and 
keep my judgments, and do them ; and hallow my Sab- 
baths ; and they shall be a sign between me and you, 
that ye may know that I am the Lord your God. Not- 
withstanding the children rebelled against me : they 
walked not in my statutes, neither kept my j udgments to 
do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them ; 
they polluted my Sabbaths : then I said, I would pour 
out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against 
them in the wilderness. Nevertheless I withdrew mine 
hand, and wrought for my name's sake, that it should 
not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose 
sight I brought them forth. I lifted up mine hand unto 
them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them 
among the heathen, and disperse them through the coun- 
tries ; because they had not executed my judgments, but 
had despised my statutes, and had polluted my Sabbaths, 
and their eyes were after their father's idols," 

Thus it appears that the younger generation, 
which God spared when he excluded their fathers 
from the land of promise, did, like their fathers, 
transgress God's law, pollute his Sabbath, and 
cleave to idolatry. God did not see lit to exclude 
them from the land of Canaan, but he did lift up 
his hand to them in the wilderness, that he would 
give them up to dispersion among their enemies 
after they had entered the land of promise. Thus 
it is seen that the Hebrews while in the wilder- 
ness laid the foundation for their subsequent dis- 
persion from their own land : and that one of the 
acts which led to their final ruin as a nation was 
the violation of the Sabbath before they had en- 


tered the promised land. Well might Moses say 
to them in the last month of his life : " Ye have 
been rebellious against the Lord from the day 
that I knew you." ^ In Caleb and Joshua was 
another spirit, for they followed the Lord fully. ^ 
Such is the general history of Sabbatic observ- 
ance in the wilderness. Even the miracle of the 
manna, which every week for forty years bore 
public testimony to the Sabbath/ became to the 
body of the Hebrews a mere ordinary event, so 
that they dared to murmur against the bread thus 
sent from heaven ;* and we may well believe that 
those who were thus hardened through the de- 
ceitfulness of sin, had little regard for the testi- 
mony of the manna in behalf of the Sabbath.^ 
In the Mosaic record we next read of the Sab- 
bath as follows : — 

"And Moses gathered all the congregation of the chil- 
dren of Israel together, and said unto them, These are 
the words which the Lord hath commanded, that ye 
should do them. Six days shall work be done, but on 
the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a Sab- 
bath of rest to the Lord : whosoever doeth work therein 
shall be put to death. ^ Ye shall kindle no fire through- 
out your habitations upon the Sabbath day." ^ 

The chief feature of interest in this text relates 
to the prohibition of fires on the Sabbath. As 
this is the only prohibition of the kind in the Bi- 
ble, and as it is often urged as a reason why the 
Sabbath should not be kept, a brief examination 
of the difiiculty will not be out of place. It 

1 Deut. 9 : 24. 2 Num. 14 ; Heb. 3 : 16, 

3 Ex. 16 ; Josh. 5 : 12. 4 Xum. 11 ; 21. 

5 A comparison of Ex. 19 ; 20 : 18-21 ; 24 : 3-8, -^vith chapter 32, 
will !^ho\v the astonishing transitions of the Hebrews from faith and 
obedience to rebellion and idolatr3\ See a general history of these 
acts in Ps. 78 ; 106. 

« For a notice of this penalty see chapter 5. " Ex. 35 : 1-3. 


should be observed, 1. Tliat this lanoTuicre does 
not form part of the fourth commandment, the 
grand law of the Sabbath. 2. That as there 
were laws pertaining to the Sabbath, that were 
no part of the Sabbatic institution, but that grew 
out of its being intrusted to the Hebrews, such 
as the law respecting the presentation of the 
shew-bread on the Sabbii'.h; and that respecting 
the burnt- offering for the Sabbath : ^ so it is at 
least possible that this is a precept pertaining 
only to that nation, and not a part of the orig- 
inal institution. 3. That as there were laws pe- 
culiar only to the Hebrews, so there were many 
that pertained to them only while they were in 
the wilderness. Such were all those precepts that 
related to the manna, the building of the taber- 
nacle and the setting of it up, the manner of en- 
camping about it, kc. 4. That of this class were 
all the statutes given from the time that Moses 
brought down the second tables of stone until 
the close of the book of Exodus, unless the words 
under consideration form an exception. 5. That 
the prohibition of fires was a law of this class, 
i. e., a law designed only for the wilderness, is 
evident from several decisive facts. 

1. That the land of Palestine during a part of 
the year is so cold that fires are necessary to pre- 
vent sufferino\- 

1 Lev. 24 : 5-9 ; Num. 28 : 0, 10. 

2 The Bible abounds with facts which establish this proposition. 
Thus the psalmist, in an address to Jerusalem, uses the following 
language: "He givetli snow like wool ; he scattereth the hoar- 
frost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels; who can 
stand before his cold? He sendeth out his word, and melteth 
them; he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow. He 
showeth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto 
Israel." Ps. 147 : lti-19. Dr. Chtrke has the following note on 
this text : "At particular times the cold in the East is so very in- 


2. That the Sabbath was not designed to be a 
cause of distress and suffering, but of refreshment, 
of delight, and of blessing/ 

3. That in the wilderness of Sinai, where this 
precept respecting fires on the Sabbath was given, 
it was not a cause of suffering, as they were two 
hundred miles south of Jerusalem, in the warm 
climate of Arabia. 

4. That this precept was of a temporary char- 
acter, is further implied in that while other- laws 
are said to be perpetual statutes and precepts to 

tense as to kill man and beast. Jacobus cle Vitriaco, one of the 
writers in the Gesta Dei per Francos, says that in an expedition 
in which he was engaged against Mount Tabor, on the 24th of 
December, the cold was so intense that many of the poor people, 
and the beasts of burthen died by it. And Alhertus Aquensis, an- 
other of these writers, speaking of the cold in Judea, says that 
f flirt// of the people who attended Baldwin I., in the mountainous 
districts near the Dead Sea, were killed by it; and that in that 
expedition they had to contend with horrible hail and ice ; with 
unheard of snow and rain. From this we find that the winters 
are often Aery severe in Judea ; and that in such cases as the 
above we may well call out, Who can stand against his cold!" 
See his commentary on Ps. 147. See also Jer. 36 : 22 ; John IS : 
18 ; Matt. 24 : 20; Mark 13 : 18. 1 Maccabees 13 : 22, mentions a 
very great snow storm in Palestine, so that horsemen could not 

1 The testimony of the Bible on this point is very explicit. Thus 
we read ; " Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh 
day thou shalt rest : that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the 
son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed." Ex. 
23 : 12. To be without fire in the severity of winter would cause 
the Sabbath to be a curse and not a refreshment. It would ruin 
the health of those who should thus expose themselves, and ren- 
der the Sabbath anything but a source of refreshment. The 
prophet uses the following language : " If thou turn away thy foot 
from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day : and 
call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable." etc. 
The Sabbath then was designed by God to be a source of delight 
to his people, and not a cause of sufltering. The merciful and be- 
neficent character of the Sabbath is seen in the following texts : 
Matt. 12 : 10-13 ; Mark 2 : 27, 28 ; Luke 14 : 3-6. From them we 
learn that God regards the sufterings of the brute creation, and 
would have them alleviated upon the Sabbath ; how much more 
the distress and the needs of his x>eople, for whose refreshment 
and delio-ht the Sabbath was made. 


be kept after they should enter the land/ no hint 
of this kind here appears. On the contrary, this 
seems to be similar in character to the precept re- 
specting the manna, ^ and to be co-existent with, 
and adapted to, it. 

5. If the prohibition respecting fires did indeed 
pertain to the promised land, and not merely to 
the wilderness, it would every few years conflict 
directly with the law of the passover. For the 
passover was to be roasted by each family of the 
children of Israel on the evenins^ folio wingr the 
fourteenth day of the first month, ^ which would 
fall occasionally upon the Sabbath. The prohi- 
bition of fires upon the Sabbath would not conflict 
with the passover while the Hebrews were in the 
wilderness ; for the passover was not to be ob- 
served until they reached that land.^ But if that 
prohibition did extend forward to the promised 
land, where the passover was to be regularly ob- 
served, these two statutes would often come in 
direct conflict. This is certainly a strong con- 
firmation of the view that the prohibition of fires 
upon the Sabbath was a temporary statute, relat- 
ing only to the wilderness.^ 

1 Ex. 29 : 9 ; 31 : 16 ; Lev. 3 : 17 ; 24 : 9 ; Num. 19 : 21 ; Dent. 5 : 
31 ; 6:1; 7. The number and variety of these allusions will sur- 
prise the inquirer. 

2 Ex. 16 : 23. 3 Ex. 12 ; Deut. 16. 

4 The law of the passover certainly contemplated the arrival of 
the Hebrews in the promised land before its regular observance. 
Ex. 12 : 25. Indeed, it was only once observed in the wilderness ; 
namely, in the year following their departure from Egypt; and 
after that, was omitted until they entered the land of Canaan. 
Num. 9 ; Josh. 5. This is proved, not merely from the fact that 
no other instances are recorded, but because that circumcision 
was omitted during the whole period of their sojourn in the wil- 
derness ; and without this ordinance the children would have been 
excluded from the passover. Ex. 12 ; Josh. 5. 

^ Dr. Gill, who considered the seventh-day Sabbath as a Jewish 
institution, beginning with Moses, and ending with Christ, and 


From these facts it follows that the favorite 
argument drawn from the prohibition of fires, 
that the Sabbath was a local institution, adapted 
only to the land of Canaan, must be abandoned ; 
for it is evident that that prohibition was a tem- 
porary statute not even adapted to the land of 
promise, and not designed for that land. We 
next read of the Sabbath as follows : — 

*' And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto 
all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto 
them, Ye shall be holy ; for I the Lord your God am holy. 
Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and 

keep my Sabbaths : I am the Lord your God Ye 

shall keep my Sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary : I 
am the Lord."^ 

These constant references to the Sabbath con- 
ti'ast strikingly with the general disobedience of 
the people. And thus God speaks again : — 

' ' Six days shall work be done ; but the seventh day is 
the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation ; ye shall do no 
work therein : it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your 

one with which Gentiles have no concern, has given his judgment 
concerning this question of fire on the Sabbath. He certainly 
had no motive in this case to answer this popular objection only 
that of stating the truth. He says : — 

"This law seems to be a temporary one, and not to be contin- 
ued, nor is it said to be throughout their generations, as else- 
where, where the law of the Sabbath is given or repeated ; it is to 
be restrained to the building of the tabernacle, and while that was 
about to which it is prefaced ; and it is designed to prevent all 
public or private working on the Sabbath day in anything belong- 
ing to that ;" etc. — Commentary on Ex. 35 : 3. 

Dr. Bound gives us St. Augustine's idea of this precept : "He 
doth not admonish them of it without cause; for that he speaketh 
in making the tabernacle, and all things belonging to it, and 
showeth that, notwithstanding that, they must rest upon the Sab- 
bath day, and not under the color of that (as it is said in the text) 
so much as kindle a fire." — True Doctrine of the Sabbath, p. 140. 

1 Lev. 19 : 1-3, 80. 

2 Lev. 23 : 3. It has been asserted from verse 2, that the Sab- 
bath was one of the feasts «f the Lord. But a comparison of verses 


Thus does God solemnly designate his rest-day 
as a season of holy worship, and as the day of 
weekly religious assemblies. Again the great 
Law-giver sets forth his Sabbath : — 

" Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither 
rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any 
image of stone in yoiir land, to bow down unto it ; for I 
am the Lord your God. Ye shall keep mj'- Sabbaths, and 
reverence my sanctuary : I am the Lord."^ 

Happy would it have been for the people of 
God had tliey thus refrained from idolatry and 
sacredly regarded the rest-day of the Creator. 
Yet idolatry and Sabbath-breaking were so gen- 
eral in the wilderness that the generation which 
came forth from Egypt were excluded from the 
promised land.^ After God had thus cut off from 
the inheritance of the land the men who had re- 
belled asrainst him,'^ we next read of the Sabbath 
as follows : — 

' ' And while the children of Israel were in the wilder- 
ness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the Sab- 
bath day. And they that found him gathering sticks 
brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto aU the con- 
gregation. • And they put him in ward, because it was not 
declared what should be done to him. And the Lord said 
unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death ; all 
the congregation shall stone him with stones without the 

2, 4, shows that there is a break in the narrative, for the purpose 
of introducing the Sabbath as a holy convocation ; and that verse 
4 begins the theme anew in the very hinguage of verse 2; and it 
i^to be observed that the remainder of the chapter sets forth the 
actualJewish feasts; viz., that of unleavened bread, the Pentecost, 
and the feast of tabernacles. What further clears this point of 
all obscurity is the fact that verses 37, 38, carefully discriminate 
between the feasts of the Lord and the Sabbaths of the Lord. But 
Ex. 23; 14, settles the point beyond controversy: "Three times 
thou Shalt keep a feast unto me in the year." And then verses 
ir)-l7 enumerate these feasts as in Lev. 23 ; 4-44. See also 2 
Chron. 8: 13. 

' Lev. 2i); 1, 2. - Iv/.o. 2(i : 15, It',. ^ \um. 10; 14. 


camp. And all the congregation brought him without the 
camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died ; as the 
Lord commanded Moses." ^ 

The following facts should be considered in ex- 
plaining this text : 1. That this was a case of pe- 
culiar guilt; for the whole congregation before 
whom this man stood in judgment, and by whom 
he was put to death, were themselves guilty of 
violating the Sabbath, and had just been excluded 
from the promised land for this and other sins.^ 
2. That this was not a case which came under 
the existing penalty of death for work upon the 
Sabbath; for the man was put in confinement 
that tlie mind of the Lord respecting his guilt 
might be obtained. The peculiarity of his trans- 
gression may be learned from the context. The 
verses which next precede the case in question 
read thus : — 

" But the soul that doeth aught presumptuously, wheth- 
er he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same re- 
proacheth the Lord ; and that soul shall be cut off from 
among his people. Because he hath despised the word of 
the Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul 
shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.^ 

These words being followed by this remarkable 
case were evidently designed to be illustrated by 
it. It is manifest, therefore, that this was an in- 
stance of presumptuous sin, in which the trans- 
gressor intended despite to the Spirit of grace 
and to the statutes of the Most High. This case 
cannot therefore be quoted as evidence of extraor- 
dinary strictness on the part of the Hebrews in 
observing the Sabbath ; for we have direct evi- 
dence that they did greatly pollute it during the 

1 Num. 15 : 32-36. 2 Eze. 20 : 15, 16 comp. with Num. U : 35. 

3 Num. 15 : 30. 

Sahbith Ui.'tnrv. G 


whole forty years of tlieir sojourn in the wilder- 
ness. ^ It stands therefore as an instance of trans- 
gression in which the sinner intended to show his 
contempt for the Law-giver, and in this consisted 
his peculiar guilt. ^ 

In the last month of his long and eventful life 
Moses rehearsed all the great acts of God in be- 
half of his people, with the statutes and precepts 
that he had given them. This rehearsal is con- 
tained in the book of Deuteronomy, a name which 
signifies second law, and which is applied to that 
book, because it is a second writing of the law. 
It is the farewell of Moses to a disobedient and 
rebellious people; and he endeavors to fasten 
upon them the strongest possible sense of personal 
obligation to obey. Thus, when he is about to 
rehearse the ten commandments, he uses language 
evidently designed to impress upon the minds of 
the Hebrews a sense of their individual obligation 
to do what God had commanded. Thus he 
says : — 

''Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I 
speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and 

lEze. 20. 

2 Hengstenberg, a distinguished German Anti-Sabbatarian, thus 
candidly treats this text : ** A man who had gathered wood 
on the Sabbath is brought forth at the command of the Lord, and 
stoned by the whole congregation before the camp. Calvin says 
rightly, ' The guilty man did not fixll through error, but through 
gross contempt of the law, so that he treated it as a light matter 
to overthrow and destroy all that is holy.' It is evident from the 
manner of its introduction that the account is not given with any 
reference to its chronological position ; it reads, ' And while the 
children of Israel were in the wildo'iiess, they found a man that 
gathered sticks upon the Sabbath day.' It stands simply as an 
example of the presumptuous breach of the law. of which the pre- 
ceding verses speak. He was one who despised the word of the 
Lord and broke his commandments [verse 31 J ; one who with a 
high hand sinned and reproached tnc Lord. Verse 30." — The 
Lord's Day, pp. 81, 32. 


keep, and do them. The Lord our God made a covenant 
with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with 
our fathers, but with us, even us, vdio are all of us here 
alive this day."^ 

It was not the act of your fathers that placed 
this responsibility upon you, but your oAvn indi- 
vidual acts that brought you into the bond of this 
covenant. You have personally pledged your- 
selves to the Most High to keep these precepts. ^ 
Such is the obvious import of this language; 
yet it has been gravely adducec^ as proof that the 
Sabbath of the Lord was made for the Hebrews, 
and was not obligatory upon the patriarchs. The 
singularity of this deduction appears in that it is 
brought to bear against the fourth commandment 
alone ; whereas, if it is a just and logical argu- 
ment, it would show that the ancient patriarchs 
were under no obligation in respect to any precept 
of the moral law. But it is certain that the cov- 
enant at Horeb was simply an embodiment of 
the precepts of the moral law, with mutual pledges 
respecting them between God and the people, 
and that that covenant did not give existence to 
either of the ten commandments. At all events, 
we find the Sabbath ordained of God at the close 
of creation ^ and obligatory upon the Hebrews in 
the wilderness before God had given them a new 
precept on the subject.^ As this was before the 
covenant at Horeb it is conclusive proof that the 
Sabbath did no more originate from that covenant 
than did the prohibition of idolatry, theft or 

1 Deut. 5 : 1-3. 

2 See the pledges of this people in Ex. 19 ; 24. 

3 See the second chapter of this work. * See chapter third. 


The man of God then repeats the ten command- 
ments. And thus he gives the fourth : — 

' ' Keep the Sabbath day, to sanctify it, as the Lord thy 
God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labor 
and do all thy work : but the seventh day is the Sabbath 
of the Lord thy God : in it thou shalt not do any work, 
thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, 
nor thy maid-servant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any 
of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates ; 
that thy man-servant and thy maid-servant may rest as 
well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant 
in the land of Egyj^t, and that the Lord thy God brought 
thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched- 
out arm : therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to 
keep the Sabbath day."^ 

It is a singular fact that this scripture is uni- 
formly quoted by those who Aviite against the 
Sabbath, as the original fourth commandment; 
while the original precept itself is carefully left 
out. Yet there is the strongest evidence that 
this is not the original precept; for Moses re- 
hearses these words at the end of the forty years' 
sojourn, whereas the original commandment was 
given in the third month after the departure from 
Egypt. ^ The commandment itself, as here given, 
contains direct proof on the point. Thus it reads : 
" Keep the Sabbath day, to sanctify it, as the 
Lord thy God hath commanded thee;" thus 
citing elsewhere for the original statute. More- 
over the precept as here given is evidently in- 
complete. It contains no clue to the origin of 
the Sabbath of the Lord, nor does it show the 
acts by which the Sabbath came into existence. 
This is why those Avho represent the Sabbath as 
made in the wilderness and not at creation quote 
this as the fourth commandment, and omit the 

' Deiil. r>: 12 15. '^Compare Ex. 10; '20; Dont. 1. 


original precept, which God hiraself proclaimed, 
where all these facts are distinctly stated. ^ 

But while Moses in this rehearsal omits a large 
pai-t of the fourth commandment, he refers to the 
original precept for the whole matter, and then 
appends to this rehearsal a powerful plea of obli- 
gation on the part of the Hebrews to keep the 
Sabbath. It should be remembered that many 
of the people had steadily persisted in the viola- 
tion of the Sabbath, and that this is the last time 
that Moses speaks in its behalf Thus he says : — 

' ' And remember that thou wast a servant in the land 
of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out 
thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched-out 
arm : therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to 
keep the Sabbath day." 

These words are often cited as proof that the 
Sabbath originated at the departure of Israel from 
Egypt, and that it was ordained at that time as 
a memorial of their deliverance from thence. 
But it will be observed, 1. That this text says 
not one word respecting the origin of the Sab- 
bath or rest-day of the Lord. 2. That the facts 
on this point are all given in the original fourth 
commandment, and are there referred to cre- 
ation. 3. That there is no reason to believe that 
God rested upon the seventh day at the time of 
this flight from Egypt ; nor did he then bless and 
hallow the day. 4. That the Sabbath has noth- 
ing in it of a kind to commemorate the deliver- 
ance from Egypt, as that was a flight and this is 
a rest ; and that flight was upon the fifteenth of 
the first month, and this rest, upon the seventh 
day of each week. Thus one would occur annu- 

1 Ex. 20 : 8-11. 


ally ; the other, weekly. 5. But God did ordain 
a fitting memorial of that deliverance to be ob- 
served by the Hebrews : the passover, on the 
fourteenth day of the first month, in memory of 
God's passing over them when he smote the 
Egyptians; and the feast of unleavened bread, 
in memory of their eating this bread when they 
fled out of Egypt. ^ 

But what then do these words imply ? Perhaps 
their meaning may be more readily perceived by 
comparing them with an exact parallel found in 
the same book and from the pen of the same 
writer : — 

"Thou slialt not i^ervert the judgment of the stranger, 
nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow's raiment to 
l^ledge ; but thou shalt remember that thou wast a bond- 
man in Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee 
thence; therefore I command thee to do this thing." " 

It will be seen at a glance that this precept 
was not given to commemorate the deliverance 
of Israel from Egyptian bondage ; nor could that 
deliverance give existence to the moral obligation 
expressed in it. If the language in the one case 
proves that men were not under obligation to 
keep the Sabbath before the deliverance of Israel 
from Egypt, it proves with equal conclusiveness 
in the other that before that deliverance they 
were not under obligation to treat with justice 
and mercy the stranger, the fatherless, and the 
widow. And if the Sabbath is shoAvn in the one 
case to be Jewish, in the other, the statute of the 
great Law-giver in behalf of the needy and the 
helpless must share the same fate. It is manifest 
that this language is in each case an appeal to 

> Ex. 12 ; 13. ' Deut. 24 : 17, 18. 


their sense of gratitude. You were slaves in 
Egypt, and God rescued you ; therefore remember 
others who are in distress, and oppress them not. 
You were bondmen in Egypt, and God redeemed 
you ; therefore sanctify unto the Lord the day 
which he has reserved unto himself; a most 
powerful appeal to those who had hitherto per- 
sisted in polluting it. Deliverance from abject 
servitude was necessary, indeed, in each case, in 
order that the things enjoined might be fully ob- 
served ; but that deliverance did not give exist- 
ence to either of these duties. It was indeed one 
of the acts by which the Sabbath of the Lord 
was given to that nation, but it was not one of 
the acts by which God made the Sabbath, nor 
did it render the restr-day of the Lord a Jewish 

That the words engraven upon stone vrere sim- 
ply the ten commandments is evident. 

1. It is said of the first tables : — 

" And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the 
fire : ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no simili- 
tude ; only ye heard a voice. And he declared unto you 
his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even 
ten commandments ; and he wrote them upon two tables 
of stone." ^ 

2. Thus the first tables of stone contained the 
ten commandments alone. That the second tables 
were an exact copy of what was written upon the 
first, is plainly stated : — 

"And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee tAvo tables 
of stone like unto the first : and I will write upon these 
tables the words that were in the first tables, which 
thou breakest." ''And I will write on the tables the 
words that were in the first tables which thou breakest, 
and thou shalt put them in the ark." ^ 

iDeut. 4:12, 18. " 2 Ex. 84 ; 1 ; Deut. 10 : 2. 


3. This is confirmed by the following decisive 
testimony : — 

'' And he wrote upon the tables the words of the cove- 
nant, the ten commandments," margin, Heb,, "words." 
' ' And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writ- 
ing, the ten commandments [margin, words], which the 
Lord spake unto you in the mount, out of the midst of 
the fire in the day of the assembly : and the Lord gave 
them unto me."^ 

These texts will explain the following language : 
"And the Lord delivered unto me two tables of 
stone written with the finger of God ; and on 
them was written according to all the words 
which the Lord spake with you in the mount out 
of the midst of the fire in the day of the assem- 
bly." ^ Thus God is said to have written upon 
the tables according to all the words which he 
spoke in the day of the assembly; and these 
words which he thus wrote, are said to have been 
TEN WORDS. But the preface to the decalogue 
was not one of these ten words, and hence was 
not written by the finger of God upon stone. 
That this distinction must be attended to, will be 
seen by examining the following text and its 
connection : — 

' ' These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly 
in the mount, o\it of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, 
and of the thick darkness, with a great voice : and he 
added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of 
stone, and delivered them unto me."^ 

These words here brought to view as written 
by the finger of God after having been uttered 
by him in the hearing of all the people, must be 
understood as one of two things. 1. They are 
simply the ten words of the law of God ; or, 2. 

1 Ex. 34 : 28 : Deut. 10:4. 2 Deut. 9 : 10. ^ Deut. 5 : 22. 


They are all the words used by Moses in this re- 
hearsal of the decalogue. But they cannot refer 
to the words used in this rehearsal ; for, 1. Moses 
omits an important part of the fourth precept as 
given by God in its proclamation from the mount. 
2. In this rehearsal of that precept he cites back 
to the original for that which is omitted.^ 3. He 
appends to this precept an appeal in its behalf 
to their gratitude which was not made by God 
in giving it. 4. This language only purports to 
be a rehearsal and not the original itself; and 
this is further evinced by many verbal deviations 
from the original decalogue.^ These facts are de- 
cisive as to what was placed upon the tables of 
stone. It was not an incomplete copy, citing else- 
where for the oriofinal, but the original code it- 
self. And hence when Moses speaks of these 
WORDS as engraven upon the tables, he refers not 
to the words used by himself in this rehearsal, 
but to the TEN WORDS of the law of God, and ex- 
cludes all else. 

Thus have we traced the Sabbath through the 
books of Moses. We have found its origin in 
paradise when man was in his uprightness ; we 
have seen the Hebrews set apart from all man- 
kind as the depositaries of divine truth ; we have 
seen the Sabbath and the whole moral law com- 
mitted as a sacred trust to them ; we have seen 
the Sabbath proclaimed by God as one of the 
ten commandments ; we have seen it written by 
the finger of God upon stone in the bosom of the 
moral law ; we have seen that law possessing no 
Jewish, but simply moral and divine, features, 
placed beneath the mercy-seat in the ark of God's 

1 Deut. 5 : 12-15, compared with Ex. 20 : 8-11. 
2Deut. 5, compared with Ex. 20. 


testament; we have seen that various precepts 
pertaining to the Sabbath were given to the He- 
brews and designed only for them ; we have seen 
that the Hebrews did greatly pollute the Sab- 
bath during their sojourn in the wilderness ; and 
we have heard the final appeal made in its be- 
half by Moses to that rebellious people. 

We rest the foundation of the Sabbatic institu- 
tion upon its sanctification before the fall of man ; 
the fourth commandment is its great citadel of 
defense ; its place in the midst of the moral law 
beneath the mercy-seat shows its relation to the 
atonement and its immutable obligation. 



Enumeration of the Hebrew festivals — The passover — The 
pentecost — The feast of tabernacles — The new moons — The 
first and second annual sabbaths — The third — The fourth 
—The fifth— The sixth and seventh— The sabbath of the 
land — The jubilee — None of these festivals in force until 
the Hebrews entered their own land — The contrast between 
the Sabbath of the Lord and the sabbaths of the Hebrews 
— Testimony of Isaiah— Of Hosea — Of Jeremiah — Final 
cessation of these festivals. 

We have followed the Sabbath of the Lord 
through the books of Moses. A brief survey of 
the Jewish festivals is necessary to the complete 
view of the subject before us. Of these there 
were three feasts: tlie passover, the Pentecost, 
and the feast of tabernacles; each new moon, 
that is, the first day of each month throughout 
the year ; then there were seven annual sabbaths. 


namely, 1. The first day of unleavened bread. 
2. The seventh day of that feast. 3. The day of 
Pentecost. 4. The first day of the seventh month. 
5. The tenth day of that month. 6. The fifteenth 
day of that month. 7.' The twenty-second day 
of the same. In addition to all these, every sev- 
enth year was to be the sabbath of the land, and 
every fiftieth year the year of jubilee. 

The passover takes its name from the fact that 
the angel of the Lord passed over the houses of 
the Hebrews on that eventful night when the 
firstborn in every Egyptian family was slain. 
This feast was ordained in commemoration of the 
deliverance of that people from Egyptian bond- 
age. It began with the slaying of the paschal 
lamb on the fourteenth day of the first month, 
and extended through a period of seven days, in 
which nothing but unleavened bread was to be 
eaten. Its great antitype was reached when 
Christ our passover was sacrificed for us. ^ 

The Pentecost was the second of the Jewish 
feasts, and occupied but a single day. It was cel- 
ebrated on the fiftieth day after the first-fruits of 
barley harvest had been waved before the Lord. 
At the time of this feast the first-fruits of wheat 
harvest were offered unto God. The antitype of 
this festival was reached on the fiftieth day after 
the resurrection of Christ, when the great out- 
pouring of the Holy Ghost took place. ^ 

The feast of tabernacles was the last of the 
Jewish feasts. It was celebrated in the seventh 
month when they had gathered in the fruit of 
the land, and extended from the fifteenth to the 
twenty-first day of that month. It was ordained 

lEx. 12 ; 1 Cor. 5 : 7, 8. 2 Lev. 23 : 10-21 ; Num. 

28:26-31; Deut. 16:9-12; Acts 2 : 1-18. 


as a festival of rejoicing before the Lord ; and 
during this period the children of Israel dwelt in 
booths in commemoration of their dwelling thus 
during their sojourn in the wilderness. It proba- 
bly typifies the great rejoicing after the final 
gathering of all the people of God into his king- 

In connection with these feasts it was ordained 
that each new moon, that is, the first day of ev- 
ery month, should be observed with certain spec- 
ified offerings, and with tokens of rejoicing." The 
annual sabbaths of the Hebrews have been al- 
ready enumerated. The first two of these sab- 
baths were the first and seventh days of the feast 
of unleavened bread, that is, the fifteenth and 
twenty-first days of the first month. They were 
thus ordained by God : — 

"Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread ; even the 
first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses. 
.... And in the first day there shall be an holy con- 
vocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy 
convocation to you ; no manner of work shall be done in 
them, save that which every man must eat, that only 
may be done of you." ^ 

The third in order of the annual sabbaths was 
the day of Pentecost. This festival was ordained 
as a rest-day in the following language : — 

"And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it 
may be an holy convocation unto you : ye shall do no 
servile work therein ; it shall be a statute forever in all 
your dwellings throughout your generations."'' 

The first day of the seventh month was the 

1 Lev. 23 : 34-43 ; Deut. 16 : 13-15 ; Neh. 8 ; Rev. 7 : 9-14. 

2 Num. 10:10; 28:11-15; 1 Sam. 20 : 5, 24, 27; Ps. 81:3. 

3 Ex. 12 : 15, 16 ; Lev. 23 : 7, 8 ; Num. 28 : 17, 18, 25. 

4 Lev. 23 : 21 ; Num. 23 : 26. 


fourth annual sabbath of the Hebrews. It was 
thus ordained : — 

'' Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the sev- 
enth month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have 
a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy 
convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein ; but 
ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord." ^ 

The great day of atonement was the fifth of 
these sabbaths. Thus spake the Lord unto Mo- 
ses : — 

"Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there 
shall be a day of atonement ; it shall be an holy convoca- 
tion unto you Ye shall do no manner of work ; it 

shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in 
all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, 
and ye shall afflict your souls : in the ninth day of the 
month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate 
your sabbath."^ 

The sixth and seventh of these annual sab- 
baths were the fifteenth and twenty-second days 
of the seventh month, that is, the first day 
of the feast of tabernacles, and the day after its 
conclusion. Thus were they enjoined by God : — 

" Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when 
ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a 
feast unto the Lord seven days ; on the first day shall be 
a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath."^ 

Besides all these, every seventh year was a 
sabbath of rest unto the land. The people might 
labor as usual in other business, but they were 
forbidden to till the land, that the land itself 
might rest.^ After seven of these sabbaths, the 
following or fiftieth year was to be the year of 
jubilee, in which every man was to be restored 

1 Lev. 23 : 24, 25 ; Num. 29 : 1-6. 

2 Lev. 23 : 27-32 ; 16 : 29-31 ; Num. 29 : 7. 

^ Lev. 23 : 39. 4 Ex. 23 : 10, 11 ; Lev. 25 : 2-7. 


unto his inlieritance.^ There is no evidence that 
the jubilee was ever observed, and it is certain 
that the sabbatical year was almost entirely dis- 

Such were the feasts, new moons, and sabbaths, 
of the Hebrews. A few words will suffice to 
point out the broad distinction between them and 
the Sabbath of the Lord. The first of the three 
feasts was ordained in memory of their deliver- 
ance from Egyptian bondage, and was to be ob- 
served when they should enter their own land.^ 
The second feast, as we have seen, could not be 
observed until after the settlement of the Hebrews 
in Canaan ; for it was to be celebrated when the 
first fruits of wheat harvest should be offered be- 
fore the Lord. The third feast was ordained in 
memory of their sojourn in the wilderness, and 
was to be celebrated by them each year after the 
ingathering of the entire harvest. Of course this 
feast, like the others, could not be observed until 
the settlement of the people in their own land. 
The new moons, as has been already seen, were 
not ordained until after these feasts had been in- 
stituted. The annual sabbaths were part and 
parcel of these feasts, and could have no existence 
until after the feasts to which they belonged had 
been instituted. Thus the first and second of 
these sabbaths were the first and seventh days of 
the paschal feast. The third annual sabbath was 
identical with the feast of Pentecost. The fourth 
of these sabbaths was the same as the new moon 
in the seventh month. The fifth one was the 
gi'eat day of atonement. The sixth and the sev- 

1 Lev. 25 : 8-54. 2 Lev. 26 : 34, 35, 43 ; 2 Chron. SO : 21. 

3 Ex. 12: 25. 


enth of these annual sabbaths were the fifteenth 
and twenty-second days of the seventh month, 
that is, the fii*st day of the feast of tabernacles, 
and the next day after the close of that 
As these feasts were not to be observed until the 
Hebrews should possess their own land, the an- 
nual sabbaths could have no existence until that 
time. And so of the sabbaths of the land. These 
could have no existence until after the Hebrews 
should possess and cultivate their own land; 
after six years of cultivation, the land should 
rest the seventh year, and remain untilled. After 
seven of these sabbaths of the land came the year 
of jubilee. 

The contrast between the Sabbath of the Lord 
and these sabbaths of the Hebrews ^ is strongly 
marked. 1. The Sabbath of the Lord was insti- 
tuted at the close of the first week of time ; while 
these were ordained in connection with the Jew- 
ish feasts. 2. The one was blessed and hallowed 
by God, because that he had rested upon it from 
the work of creation; the others have no such 
claim to our regard. 8. When the children of 
Israel came into the wilderness, the Sabbath of 
the Lord was an existing institution, obligatory 
upon them ; but the annual sabbaths then came 
into existence. It is easy to point to the very 
act of God, while leading that people, that gave 

lOn this point Mr. Miller uses the following language: "Only 
one kind of Sabbath was given to Adam, and one only remains 
for us. See Hosea2 : 11. '1 will also cause all her mirth to cease, 
her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her sol- 
emn feasts.' AH the Jewish sabbaths did cease when Christ nailed 
them to his cross. Col. 2:14-17. These were properly called 
Jewish sabbaths. Hosea says, 'her sabbaths.' But the Sabbath 
of which we are speaking, 'God calls 'my Sabbath.' Here is a 
clear distinction between the creation Sabbath and the ceremonial. 
The one is perpetual ; the others were merely shadows of good 
things to con\Q.''— Life and Views, pp. 161, 162. 


existence to these sabbaths ; while every refer- 
ence to the Sabbath of the Lord shows that it 
had been ordained before God chose that peo- 
ple. 4. The children of Israel were excluded 
from the promised land for violating the Sab- 
bath of the Lord in the wilderness; but the 
annual sabbaths were not to be observed until 
they should enter that land. This contrast would 
be strange indeed were it true that the Sabbath 
of the Lord was not instituted until the children 
of Israel came into the wilderness of Sin ; for it 
is certain that two of the annual sabbaths were 
instituted before they left the land of Egypt. ^ 5. 
The Sabbath of the Lord was made for man ; but 
the annual sabbaths were designed only for resi- 
dents in the land of Palestine. 6. The one was 
weekly, a memorial of the Creator's rest; the 
others were annual, connected with the memori- 
als of the deliverance of the Hebrews from Egypt. 

7. The one is termed '' the Sabbath of the Lord/' 
"my Sabbaths," "my holy day," and the like; 
while the others are designated as "your sab- 
baths," "her sabbaths," and similar expressions.^ 

8. The one was proclaimed by God as one of the 
ten commandments, and was written with his fin- 
ger in the midst of the moral law upon the tables 
of stone, and was deposited in the ark beneath 
the mercy-seat ; the others did not pertain to the 
moral law, but were embodied in that hand-wiit- 
ing of ordinances that was a shadow of good 
things to come. 9. The distinction between these 
festivals and the Sabbaths of the Lord was care- 
fully marked by God when he ordained the festi- 
vals and their associated sabbaths. Thus he said : 

' Ex. 12 : Ifi. 2 Y.x. 20 : 10 ; 31 : 13 ; Isa. 58 : 13 ; compared 

witli lev. 23:24, 32, 3'.> ; Lam. 1:7; Hoseu 2; 11. 


" These are the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall 

proclaim to be holy convocations, beside 

the Sabbaths of the Lord."^ 

The annual sabbaths are presented by Isaiah 
in a very different light from that in which he 
presents the Sabbath of the Lord. Of the one 
he says : — 

' ' Bring no more vain oblations ; incense is an abomin- 
ation unto me ; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling 
of assemblies, I cannot away with ; it is iniquity, even 
the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appoint- 
ed feasts my soul hateth ; they are a trouble unto me ; I 
am weary to bear them." ' 

In striking contrast with this, the same prophet 
speaks of the Lord's Sabbath : — 

" Thvis saifch the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do 
justice : for my salvation is near to come, and my 
righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that 
doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it ; 
that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth 
his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of 
the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, 
saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his peo- 
ple ; neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. 
For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my 
Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take 
hold of my covenant ; even unto them will I give in 
mine house and within my walls a place and a name bet- 
ter than of sons and of daughters ; I will give them an 
everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the- 
sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, 
to serve liim, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his 
servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from pollut- 
ing it, and taketh hold of my covenant ; even them will 
I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in 
my house of prayer ; their burnt-offerings and their sac- 
rifices shall be accepted upon mine altar ; for mine house 
shall be called a house of prayer for all people." ^ 

1 Lev. 23:37, 38. 2 iga. l : 13, 14. s iga. 56 : 1-7; 5S : 13, 14. 

Sabbath Ristorv. "T 


Hosea carefully designates the annual sabbaths 
in the following prediction : — 

' ' I •will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast-days, 
her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn 
feasts. " ^ 

This prediction was uttered about B. c. 785. It 
was fulfilled in part about two hundred years 
after this, when Jerusalem was destroyed by 
Nebuchadnezzar. Of this event, Jeremiah, about 
B. c. 588, speaks as follows : — 

' ' Her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none 
did help her : the adversaries saw her, and did mock at 

HER sabbaths The Lord was as an enemy ; he 

hath swallowed up Israel, he hath swallowed up all her 
palaces ; he hath destroyed his strongholds, and hath in- 
creased in the daughter of Judah mourning and lamenta- 
tion. And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as 
if it were of a garden ; he hath destroyed his places of the 
assembly ; the Lord hath caused the solemn feasts and 
sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the 
indignation of his anger the king and the priest. The 
Lord hath cast off his altar, he hath abhorred his sanctu- 
ary, he hath given up into the hand of the enemy the 
walls of her palaces ; they have made a noise in the house 
of the Lord, as in the day of a solemn feast. "" 

The feasts of the Lord were to be holden in 
the place which the Lord should choose, namely, 
Jerusalem;^ and when that city, the place of 
their solemn assemblies, was destroyed and the 
people themselves carried into captivity, the com- 
plete cessation of their feasts, and, as a conse- 
quence, of the annual sabbaths, which were spec- 
ified days in those feasts, liiust occur. The ad- 
versaries mocked at her sabbaths, by making a 
" noise in the house of the Lord as in the day of 

1 Hosea 2:11. « Lam. 1:7; 2:5-7. 

8 Deut. IG : 16 ; 2 Chron. 7 : 12 ; Ps. 122. 


a solemn feast." But the observance of the 
Lord's Sabbath did not cease with the dispersion 
of the Hebrews from theii* own land ; for it was 
not a local institution, like the annual sabbaths. 
Its violation was one chief cause of the Babylonish 
captivity ; ^ and their final restoration to their 
own land was made conditional upon their ob- 
serving it in their dispersion. - The feasts, new 
moons, and annual sabbaths, were restored when 
the Hebrews returned from captivity, and with 
some interruptions, were kept up until the final 
destruction of their city and nation by the Ro- 
mans. But ere the providence of God thus struck 
out of existence these Jewish festivals, the whole 
typical system was abolished, having reached the 
commencement of its antitype, when our Lord 
Jesus Christ expired upon the cross. The hand- 
writing of ordinances being thus abolished, no 
one is to be judged respecting its meats, or drinks, 
or holy days, or new moons, or sabbaths, " which 
are a shadow of things to come ; but the body is 
of Christ." But the Sabbath of the Lord did 
not form a part of this handwriting of ordinances ; 
for it was instituted before sin had entered 
the world, and consequently before there was 
any shadow of redemption ; it was written by 
the finger of God, not in the midst of types and 
shadows, but in the bosom of the moral law ; and 
the day following that on which the typical sab- 
baths were nailed to the cross, the Sabbath com- 
mandment of the moral law is expressly recognized. 
Moreover, when the Jewish festivals were utterly 
extinguished with the final destruction of Jeru- 


1 Jer. 17 : 19-27 ; Neh. 13 : 15-18. 

2 Isa. 5f.. See the eighth chapter of this work. 


salem, even then was tlie Sabbath of the Lord 
brought to the minds of his people. ^ Thus have 
we traced the annual sabbaths until their final 
cessation, as predicted by Hosea. It remains 
that we trace the Sabbath of the Lord until we 
reach the endless ages of the new earth, when 
we shall find the whole multitude of the re- 
deemed assembling before God for worship on 
each successive Sabbath. 



Silence of six successive books of the Bible relative to the 
Sabbath — This silence compared to that of the book of 
Genesis — The siege of Jericho — The standing still of the 
sun — David's act of eating the shew-bread — The Sabbath 
of the Lord, how connected with and how distinguished 
from the annual sabbaths — Earliest reference to the Sab- 
bath after the days of Moses — Incidental allusions to the 
Sabbath — Testimony of Amos — Of Isaiah — The Sabbath a 
blessing to mankind — The condition of being gathered to 
the holy land — Not a local institution — Commentary on 
the fourth commandment — Testimony of Jeremiah — Jeru- 
salem to be saved if she would keep the Sabbath — This 
gracious offer despised — The Sabbath distinguished from 
the other days of the week — The Sabbath after the Bab- 
ylonish captivity — Time for the commencing of the Sab- 
bath — The violation of the Sabbath caused the destruction 
of J&rusalem. 

When we leave the books of Moses there is a 
long-continued break in the history of the Sab- 
bath. No mention of it is found in the book of 
Joshua, nor in that of Judges, nor in the book of 

1 Sec diaplov x. ■> 


Ruth, nor in that of first Samuel, nor in the book 
of second Samuel, nor in that of first Kings. It 
is not until we reach the book of second Kings ^ 
that the Sabbath is even mentioned. In the book 
of first Chronicles, however, which as a narrative 
is parallel to the two books of Samuel, the Sab- 
bath is mentioned ^ with reference to the events 
of David's life. Yet this leaves a period of five 
hundred years, which the Bible passes in silence 
respecting the Sabbath. 

During this period we have a circumstantial 
history of the Hebrew people from their entrance 
into the promised land forward to the establish- 
ment of David as their king, embracing many 
particulars in the life of Joshua, of the elders and 
judges of Israel, of Gideon, of Barak, of Jephthah, 
of Samson, of Eli, of Naomi and Ruth, of Hannah 
and Samuel, of Saul, of Jonathan and of David. 
Yet in all this minute record we have no direct 
mention of the Sabbath. 

It is a favorite argument with anti- Sabbatari- 
ans in proof of the total neglect of the Sabbath in 
the patriarchal age, that the book of Genesis, 
which does give a distinct view of the origin of 
the Sabbath in Paradise, at the close of the first 
week of time, does not in recording the lives of the 
patriarchs, say anything relative to its observance. 
Yet in that one book are crowded the events of 
two thousand three hundred and seventy years. 
What then should they say of the fact that six 
successive books of the Bible, relating with com- 

1 2 Kings 4 : 23. 

2 1 Chron. 9 : 32. It is true that this text relates to the order of 
things after the return from Babylon ; yet we learn from verse 
22, that this order was originally ordained by David and Samuel. 
iSee verses 1-32. 


parative minuteness the events of five hundred 
years, and involving many circumstances that 
would call out a mention of the Sabbath, do not 
mention it at all ? Does the silence of one book, 
which nevertheless does give the institution of 
the Sabbath at its very commencement, and which 
brings into its record almost twenty-four hundred 
years, prove that there were no Sabbath-keepers 
prior to Moses ? What then is proved by the 
fact that six successive books of the Bible, con- 
fining themselves to the events of five hundred 
years, an average of less than one hundred years 
apiece, the whole period covered by them being 
about one-fifth that embraced in the book of 
Genesis, do nevertheless preserve total silence re- 
specting the Sabbath ? 

No one will adduce this silence as evidence of 
total neglect of the Sabbath during this period ; 
yet why should they not ? Is it because that 
when the narrative after this long silence brings 
in the Sabbath again, it does this incidentally and 
not as a new institution ? Precisely such is the 
case with the second mention of the Sabbath in 
the Mosaic record, that is, with its mention after 
the silence in Genesis. ^ Is it because the fourth 
commandment had been given to the Hebrews 
whereas no such precept had previously been 
given to mankind ? This answer cannot be ad- 
mitted, for we have seen that the substance of the 
fourth commandment was given to the head of 
the human family ; and it is certain that when 
the Hebrews came out of Egypt they were under 
obligation to keep the Sabbath in consequence of 
existing law. ^ The argument therefore is cer- 

» Compare these two cases ; Ex. IG : 23 : 1 Chron. ; 32. 
> See chapters ii. and iii. 


tainly more conclusive that there were no Sab- 
bath-keepers from Moses to David, than that 
there were none from Adam to Moses; yet no 
one will attempt to maintain the first position, 
however many there will be to affirm the latter. 
Several facts are narrated in the history of this 
period of five centuries that have a claim to our 
notice. The first of these is found in the record 
of the siege of Jericho.^ By the command of 
God the city was encompassed by the Hebrews 
each day for seven days ; on the last day of the 
seven they encompassed it seven times, when by 
divine interposition the walls were thrown down 
before them and the city taken by assault. 
One day of this seven must have been the Sab- 
bath of the Lord. Did not the people of God 
therefore violate the Sabbath in their acting 
thus ? Let the following facts answer : 1. That 
which they did in this case was by direct com- 
mand of God. 2. That which is forbidden in the 
fourth commandment is OUR o^visr work : " Six 
days shalt thou labor, and do ALL thy work ; but 
the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy 
God." He who reserved the seventh day unto 
himself, had the right to'require its appropriation 
to his service as he saw fit. 3. The act of encom- 
passing the city was strictly as a religious pro- 
cession. The ark of the covenant of the Lord 
was borne before the people ; and before the ark 
went seven priests blowing with trumpets of 
rams' horns. 4. Nor could the city have been 
very extensive, else the going round it seven times 
on the last day, and their having time left for its 
complete destruction, would have been impossi- 

2 Josh. 6. 


ble. 5. Nor can it be believed that the Hebrews, 
by God's command carrying the ark before them, 
which contained simply the ten words of the 
Most High, were violating the fourth of those 
words, " Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it 
holy." It is certain that one of those seven days 
on which they encompassed Jericho was the Sab- 
bath ; but there is no necessity for supposing this 
to have been the day in which the city was taken. 
Nor is this a reasonable conjecture when all the 
facts in the case are considered. On this incident 
Dr. Clarke remarks as follows : — 

'' It does not appear that there could be any breach in 
the Sabbath by the peoj^le simjDly going round the city, 
the ark in company, and the priests sounding the sacred 
trumpets. This was a mere religious procession, per- 
formed at the command of God, in which no servile work 
was done." ^ 

At the word of Joshua it pleased God to arrest 
the earth in its revolution, and thus to cause the 
sun to remain stationary for a season, that the 
Canaanites might be overthrown before Israel. ^ 
Did not this great miracle derange the Sabbath ? 
Not at all ; for the lengthening of one of the six 
days by God's intervention could not prevent 
the actual arrival of the seventh day, though it 
would delay it ; nor could it destroy its identity. 
The case involves a difficulty for those who hold 
the theory that God sanctified the seventh part 
of time, and not the seventh day ; for in this case 
the seventh part of time was not allotted to the 
Sabbath ; but there is no difficulty involved for 
those who believe that God set apart the seventh 
day to be kept as it arrives, in memory of his 

J See Dr. A. Clarke's commentary on Josh. 6 : 15. 
2 Josh. 10 ; 12-14. 


own rest. One of the six days was allotted a 
greater length than ever before or since ; yet this 
did not in the slightest degree conflict with the 
seventh day, which nevertheless did come. More- 
over all this was while inspired men were upon 
the stage of action; and it was by the direct 
providence of God ; and what is also to be par- 
ticularly remembered, it was at a time when no 
one wdll deny that the fourth commandment was 
in full force. 

The case of David's eating the shew-bread is 
worthy of notice, as it probably took place upon 
the Sabbath, and because it is cited by our Lord 
in a memorable conversation with the Pharisees.^ 
The law of the shew-bread enjoined the setting 
forth of twelve loaves in the sanctuary upon the 
pure table before the Lord every Sabbath.^ 
When new bread was thus placed before the Lord 
each Sabbath, the old was taken away to be 
eaten by the priests. ^ It appears that the shew- 
bread which was given to David had that day 
been taken from before the Lord to put hot 
bread in its place, and consequently that day was 
the Sabbath. Thus, when David asked bread, the 
priest said, "There is no common bread under 
mine hand, but there is hallowed bread." And 
David said, " The bread is in a manner common, 
especially [as the margin has it] when this day 
there is other sanctified in the vessel." And so 
the sacred writer adds : " The priest gave him 
hallowed bread; for there was no bread there 
but the shew-bread, that was taken from before 
the Lord, to put hot bread in the day when it 

1 1 Sam. 21 : 1-6 ; Matt. 12 : 3, 4 ; Mark 2 : 25, 26 ; Luke 6 ; 3, 4. 
2 Lev. 24 : 5-9 ; 1 Chron. 9 : 32. n Sam. 21 : 5, 6 ; Matt. 12 ; 4. 


was taken away." The circumstances of this 
case all favor the view that this was upon the 
Sabbath. 1. There was NO common bread with 
the priest. This is not strange when it is re- 
membered that the shew-bread was to be taken 
from before the Lord each Sabbath and eaten by 
the priests. 2. That the priest did not offer to 
]}reparc other bread is not singular if it be un- 
derstood that this was the Sabbath. 3. The 
surprise of the priest in meeting David may have 
been in part owing to the fact that it was the 
Sabbath. 4. This also may account for the de- 
tention of Doeg that day before the Lord. 5. 
When our Lord was called upon to pronounce 
upon the conduct of his disciples who had plucked 
and eaten the ears of corn upon the Sabbath to 
satisfy their hunger, he cited this case of David, 
and that of the priests offering sacrifices in 
the temple upon the Sabbath as justifying the 
disciples. There is a wonderful propriety and 
fitness in this citation, if it be understood that 
this act of David's took place upon the Sabbath. 
It will be found to present the matter in a very 
different light from that in which anti-Sabbata- 
rians present it.^ 

A distinction may be here pointed out, which 
should never be lost sight of The presentation of 
the shew-bread and the offering of burnt sacrifices 
upon the Sabbath as ordained in the ceremonial 
law, formed no part of the original Sabbatic 
institution. For the Sabbath was made before 
the fall of man ; while burnt- offerings and cere- 
monial rites in the sanctuary were introduced in 
consequence of the fall. While these rites were 

' See the tenth chapter of this work. 


in force they necessarily, to some extent, con- 
nected the Sabbath with the festivals of the Jews 
in which the like offerings wei"e made. This is 
seen only in those scriptures which record the 
provision made for these offerings.^ When the 
ceremonial law was nailed to the cross, all the 
Jewish festivals ceased to exist ; for they were 
ordained by it ; ^ but the abrogation of that law 
could only take away those rites which it had 
appended to the Sabbath, leaving the original 
institution precisely as it came at first from its 

The earliest reference to the Sabbath after the 
days of Moses is found in what David and Sam- 
uel ordained respecting the ofiices of the priests 
and Levites at the house of God. It is as fol- 
lows : — 

' ' And other of their bretliren, of the sons of the Ko- 
hathites, were over the shew-bread, to prepare it every 

It will be observed tliat this is only an inci- 
dental mention of the Sabbath. Such an allusion, 
occurring after so long a silence, is decisive proof 
that the Sabbath had not been forgotten or lost 
during the five centuries in which it had not been 
mentioned by the sacred historians. After this 
no direct mention of the Sabbath is found from 
the days of David to those of Elisha the prophet, 
a period of about one hundi^ed and fifty years. 
Perhaps the ninety-second psalm is an exception 
to this statement, as its title, both in Hebrew and 
English, declares that it was written for the 

1 1 Chron. 23 : 31 ; 2 Chron. 2:4; 8:13; 31:3; Neh. 10:31, 
33 ; Eze. 45 : 17. - See chapter vii. of this work, 

n Chron. 9:32. 


Sabbath day ; ^ and it is not improbable that it 
was composed by David, the sweet singer of 

The son of the Shunammite woman being dead, 
she sought the prophet Elisha. Her husband not 
knowing that the child was dead said to her: — 

' ' Wherefore wilt thou go to him to-day ? It is neither 
new moon, nor Sabbath. And she said, It shall be Avell." " 

It is probable that the Sabbath of the Lord is 
here intended, as it is thrice used in a like connec- 
tion. ^ If this be correct, it shows that the He- 
brews were accustomed to visit the prophets of 
God upon that day for divine instruction ; a very 
good commentary upon the words used relative 
to gathering the manna : " Let no man go out of 
his place on the seventh day." ^ Incidental allu- 
sion is made to the Sabbath at the accession of 
Jehoash to the throne of Judah, ^ about B. c. 778. 
In the reign of Uzziah, the grandson of Jehoash, 
the prophet Amos, B. c. 787, uses the following 
language : — 

"Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to 
make the poor of the land to fail, saying, When will the 
new moon be gone, that we may sell corn ? and the Sab- 
bath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah 

1 Cotton Mather says: "There is a psalm in the Bible whereof 
the title is, 'A Psalm or Song for the Sabbath day,' Now 'tis a 
clause in that psalm, '0 Lord, how great are thy works! thy 
thoughts are very deep.' Ps. 92 : 5. That clause intimates what 
we should make the subject of our meditations on tlie Sabbath 
day. Our thoughts are to be on God's works." — JDiscouvse on 
the Lord's Bay, p 80, a ■ n. 170-3. And Hengstenberg says : " This 
psalm is according to the heading, ' A Song for the Sabbath day.' 
The proper positive employment of the Sabbath appears here to 
be a thankful contemplation of the works of God, a devotional 
absorption in them which could only exist when ordinary occupa- 
tions are laid aside." — The Lord's Dcnjy pp. 36, 37. 

2 2 Kings 4 : 23. 3 Isa. 66 ; 23 ; Eze. 46 : 1 ; Amos 8 : 5. 
4 Ex. 16 : 29. 5 2 Kings 11 ; 5-9 ; 2 Chron. 23 ; 4-8, 


small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances 
by deceit ? that we may buy the poor for silver, and the 
needy for a pair of shoes ; yea, and sell the refuse of the 
wheat ?"^ 

These words were spoken more directly con- 
cerning the ten tribes, and indicate the sad state 
of apostasy which soon after resulted in their 
overthrow as a people. About fifty years aftei^ 
this, at the close of the reign of Ahaz, another 
allusion to the Sabbath is found. ^ In the days 
of Hezekiah, about B. c. 712, the prophet Isaiah 
uses the folio wingr lanoruaore in enforcing the Sab- 
bath : — 

"Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment and do jus- 
tice ; for my salvation is near to come, and my righteous- 
ness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, 
and the son of man that layeth hold on it ; that keepeth the 
Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from do- 
ing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that 
hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying. The Lord 
hath utterly separated me from his people ; neither let the 
eunuch say. Behold I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord 
unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the 
things that please me, and take hold of my covenant, even 
unto them wiU I give in mine house and within my walls, 
a x^lace and a name better than of sons and of daughters ; 
I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut 
off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves 
to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the 
Lord, t© be his servants, every one that keepeth the Sab- 
bath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant ; 
even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make 
them joyful in my house of prayer ; their bvTrnt- offerings 
and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar ; for 
mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all peo- 
ple. The Lord God wliich gathereth the outcasts of Is- 
rael saith, Yet vnll I gather others to him, beside those 
that are gathered unto him."^ 

This prophecy presents several features of pe- 

1 Amo^ S : 4-0. 2 o Kings ir, ; 1 S. --^ Tsa. 5G : 1-8. 


culiar interest. 1. It pertains to a time when 
the salvation of God is near at hand. ^ 2. It most 
distinctly shows that the Sabbath is not a Jew^ish 
institution ; for it pronounces a blessing upon 
that man without respect of nationality who shall 
keep the Sabbath ; and it then particularizes the 
son of the stranger, that is, the Gentile,^ and 
ffnakes a peculiar promise to him if he will keep 
the Sabbath. 3. And this prophecy relates to 
Israel when they are outcasts, that is, Avhen they 
are in their dispersion, promising to gather them, 
and others, that is, the Gentiles, with them. Of 
course the condition of being gathered to God's 
holy mountain must be complied with, namely, 
to love the name of the Lord, to be his serv- 
ants, and to keep the Sabbath from polluting it. 
4. And hence it follows that the Sabbath is not a 
local institution, susceptible of being observed in 
the promised land alone, like the annual sabbaths, ^ 
but one made for mankind and capable of being 
observed by the outcasts of Israel when scattered 
in every land under heaven. ^ 

Isaiah again presents the Sabbath ; and this he 
does in language most emphatically distinguish- 
ing it from all ceremonial institutions. Thus he 
says : — 

"If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from 
doing thy pleasure on my holy clay ; and call the Sabbath 
a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable ; and shalt hon- 
or him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine o-wni 
pleasure, nor speaking thine own words : then shalt thou 
delight thyself in the Lord ; and I will cause thee to ride 
upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the 

' For the coming of this salvation see Ileb. 9 ; 28 ; 1 Pet. 1 ; 9, 

■^ Ex. 12 ; 48, 49 ; Isa. 14 : 1 ; Eph. 2 ; 12. 

3 See chapter vii. ■« Dent 28 : G4 ; Luke 21 : 24. 


heritage of Jacob thy father ; for the mouth of the Lord 
hath spoken it."^ 

This language is an evangelical commentary 
upon the fourth commandment. It appends to 
it an exceeding great and precious promise that 
takes hold upon the land promised to Jacob, even 
the new earth. ^ 

In the year B. c. 601, thirteen years before the 
destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, God 
made to the Jewish people through Jeremiah the 
gracious offer, that if they would keep his Sab- 
bath, their city should stand forever. At the 
same time he testified unto them that if they 
would not do this, their city should be utterly 
destroyed. Thus said the prophet : — 

' ' Hear ye the word of the Lord, ye kings of Judah, and 
all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that enter 
in by these gates : Thus saith the Lord : Take heed to 
yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor 
bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem ; ^ neither carry forth 
a burden * out of your houses on the Sabbath day, neither 
do ye any work, but hallow ye the Sabbath day, as I 
commanded your fathers. But they obeyed not, neither 
inclined their ears, but made their necks stiff, that they 
might not hear, nor receive instruction. ^ And it shall 
come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the 
Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city 
on the Sabbath day, but hallow the Sabbath day, to do no 
work therein ; then shall there enter into the gates of this 

1 Isa. 58 : 13, 14. 2 Matt. 8 : 11 ; Heb. 11 : 8-16 ; Rev. 21. 

3 On this text Dr. A. Clarke comments thus : "From this and 
the following verses we find the ruin of the Jews attributed to the 
breach of the Sabbath : as this led to a neglect of sacrifice, the 
ordinances of religion, and all public worship ; so it necessarily 
brought with it all immorality. The breach of the Sabbath was 
that which let in upon them all the waters of God's wrath." 

4 For an inspired commentary on this language, see Neh. 13 : 

5 This language strongl}' implies that the violation of the Sab- 
bath had ever been general with the Hebrews. See Jer. 7 : 23-28. 


city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, 
riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, 
the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusa- 
lem ; and this city shall remain forever. And they 
shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places 
about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and 
from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the 
south, bringing burnt-offerings, and sacrifices, and meat- 
offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, 
unto the house of the Lord. But if ye will not hearken 
unto me to hallow the Sabbath day, and not to bear a 
burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the 
Sabbath day ; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, 
and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall 
not be quenched."^ 

This gracious offer of the Most High to his re- 
bellious people was not regarded by them ; for 
eight years after this Ezekiel testifies thus : — 

' ' In thee have they set light by father and mother : in 
the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the 
stranger : in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the 
widow. Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast 

profaned my Sabbaths Her priests have violated 

my law, and have profaned mine holy things : they have 
put no difference between the holy and profane, neither 
have they showed difference between the unclean and the 
clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I 

am profaned among them Moreover this they 

have done imto me : they have defiled my sanctuary in 
the same day, and have profaned my Sabbaths. For 
when they had slain their children to their idols, then 
they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it ; 
and, lo, thus have they done in the midst of mine house."" 

Idolatry and Sabbath-breaking, which were be- 
setting sins with the Hebrews in the wilderness, 
and which there laid the foundation for their dis- 
persion from their own land,^ had ever cleaved 
unto them. And now when their destruction 

> Jer. 17 : 20-27. => Eze. 22 : 7, 8, 26 ; 23 : 38, 30. 

sEze. 20 : 23, 24; Dent. 32 : lfi-35. 


was impending from the ovenvhelming power of 
the king of Babylon, they were so deeply attached 
to these and kindred sins, that they would not 
reofard the voice of warning:. Before enterincj the 
sanctuary of God upon his Sabbath, they first 
slew their own children in sacrifice to their idols ! ^ 
Thus iniquity came to its hight, and wrath came 
upon them to the uttermost. 

^'They mocked the messengers of God, and despised 
his words, and misused liis prophets, until the wrath of 
the Lord arose against his people, till there was no rem- 
edy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the 
Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in 
the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion 
upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that 
stooped for age : he gave them all into his hand. And all 
the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and 
the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures 
of the king, and of his princes ; all these he brought to 
Babylon, and they burnt the house of God, and brake down 
the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof 
with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. 
And them that had escaped from the sword carried he 
away to Babylon ; where they were servants to him and 
his sons until the reign of the king of Persia."^ 

While the HebrcAVs were in captivity at Baby- 
lon, God made to them an offer of restoring them 
to their own land and giving them again a city 
and a temple under circumstances of wonderful 
glory. ^ The condition of that offer being disre- 
garded,^ the offered glory was never inherited by 
them. In this offer were several allusions to the 
Sabbath of the Lord, and also to the festivals of 
the Hebrews.^ One of these allusions is worthy 

lEze. 23: 38, 39. 

2 2Chron. 36:10-20. 

3Eze., chapters 40-48. 

*Eze. 43:7-11. 

6 Eze. 44 : 24 ; 45 : 17 ; 4t^ : 1, 3, 4, 12. 

SaUath llislorr. S 


of particular notice for the distinctness with 
which it discriminates between the Sabbath and 
the other days of the week : — 

"Thus saith the Lord God : The gate of the inner 
court that looketh toward the east, shall be shut the six 
WORKING DAYS ; but on the Sabbath it shall be opened, 
and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened." ^ 

Six days of the week are by divine inspiration 
called " the six working days ;" the seventh is 
called the Sabbath of the Lord. Who shall dare 
confound this marked distinction ? 

After the Jews had returned from their cap- 
tivity in Babylon, and had restored their temple 
and city, in a solemn assembly of the whole peo- 
ple they recount in an address to the Most High 
all the great events of God's providence in their 
past history. Thus they testify respecting the 
Sabbath : — 

''Thou earnest down also upon Mount Sinai, and spak- 
est with them from heaven, and gavest them right judg- 
ments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments : 
and madest known unto them thy holy Sabbath, and com- 
mandest them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand 
of Moses thy servant."^ 

Thus were all the people reminded of the great 
events of Mount Sinai — the giving of the ten 
words of the law of God, and the making known 
of his holy Sabbath. So deeply impressed was 
the whole congregation with the effect of their 
former disobedience, that they entered into a sol- 
emn covenant to obey God. ^ They pledged 
themselves to each other thus : — 

"And if the people of the land bring ware or any vict- 
uals on the Sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy 

» Ezo. 46 : 1. ••'Neh. : 13, U. » xVeli. It : 38 ; 10 : 1-81. 


it of them on the Sabbath, or on the holy day ; and that 
we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of 
every debt." ^ 

In the absence of Neliemiali at the Persian 
court, this covenant was in part, at least, forgot- 
ten. Eleven years having elapsed, Neliemiah 
thus testifies concerning things at his return about 
B. c. 434 :— 

' ' In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine- 
presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lad- 
ing asses ; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner 
of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the 
Sabbath day ; and I testified against them in the day where- 
in they sold victuals. There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, 
which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on 
the Sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. 
Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto 
them, What evdl thing is this that ye do, and profane the 
Sabbath day 1 Did not your fathers thus, and did not 
our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city 1 
yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the 
Sabbath. And it came to pass, that, when the gates of 
Jerusalem began to be dark before the Sabbath,^ I com- 
manded that the gates should be shut, and charged that 

iNeh. 10: 31. 

2 A few words relative to the time of beginning the Sabbath are 
here demanded. 1. The reckoning of the first week of time nec- 
essarily determines that of all succeeding weeks. The first division 
of the first day was niijht ; and each day of the first week began 
with evening; the evening and the morning, an expression equiv- 
alent to the night and the day, constituted the day of twenty-four 
hours. Gen. 1. Hence, the first Sabbath began and ended with 
evening. 2. That the night is in the Scriptures reckoned a part 
of the day of twenty-four hours, is proved bv many texts. Ex. 
12 :41, 4:2 ; 1 Sam. 26 : 7, 8; Luke 2 : 8-11 ; Mark 14 : 30 ; Luke 
22 : 34, and many other testimonies. 3. The 2300 days, symbol- 
izing 2300 years, are each constituted like the days of the first 
week of time. Dan. 8 : 14. The margin, which gives the literal 
Hebrew, calls each of these days an "evening morning." 4. 
The statute defining the great day of atonement is absolutely de- 
cisive that the day begins with evening, and that the night is a 
part of the day. Lev. 23 :32. "It shall be unto you a Sabbath 
of rest, and ye shall afiiict your souls : in the ninth day of the 
month at even, from even iiuto even shall ye celebrate your Sab- 


tliey should not be opened till after the Sabbath : and 
some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should 
no burden be brought in on the Sabbath day. So the 
merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without 
Jerusalem once or twice. Then I testified against them, 
and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall ? if 
ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time 
forth came they no more on the Sabbath. And I com- 
manded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, 
and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify 
the Sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning 
this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy 
mercy." ^ 

This scripture is an explicit testimony that the 
destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the 
Jews at Babylon were in consequence of their pro- 
fanation of the Sabbath. It is a striking con- 
firmation of the language of Jeremiah, already 
noticed, in which he testified to the Jews that if 
they would hallow the Sabbath their city should 
stand forever ; but that it should be utterly de- 
stroyed if they persisted in its profanation. Ne- 
hemiah bears testimony to the accomplishment 

bath." 5. That evening is at sunset is abvmdantlv proved by the 
following scriptures ; Deut. 16:6; Lev. 22 : 6, 7 ; Dent. 23 : 2 ; 24 : 
13, 15; Josh. 8:29; 10:26, 27; Judges 14:18; 2 Sam. 3:35; 
2 Chron. 18 : 34 ; Matt. 8:16; Mark 1 : 32 ; Luke 4 : 40. But does 
not Neh. 13 : 19, conflict with this testimony, and indicate that 
the Sabbath did not begin until after dark ? 1 think not. The 
text does not say, " When it began to be dark at Jerusalem be- 
fore the Sabbath," but it says, "When the gates of Jerusalem be- 
gan to be dark." If it be remembered that the gates of Jerusa- 
lem were placed under wide and high walls, it will not be found 
difficult to harmoniz.e this text with the many here adduced, 
■which prove that the day begins with sunset. 

Calmet, in his Bible Dictionary, article. Sabbath, thus states 
the ancient Jewish method of beginning the Sabbath: "About 
half an hour before the sunset all work is quitted and the Sabbath 
is supposed to be begun." lie speaks thus of the close of the 
Sabbath : "When night comes, and they can discern in the 
heaven three stars of moderate magnitude, then the Sabbath is 
ended, and they may return to their ordinary employments." 

J Neh. 13 : 15-22. 


of Jeremiah's prediction concerning the violation 
of the Sabbath ; and with his solemn appeal in 
its behalf ends the history of the Sabbath in the 
Old Testament. 



Great change in the Jewish people respecting idolatry and 
Sabbath-breaking after their return from Babylon — Decree 
of Antiochus Epiphanes against the Sabbath — Massacre of 
a thousand Sabbath-keepers in the wilderness — Similar 
massacre at Jerusalem — Decree of the Jewish elders rela- 
tive to resisting attacks upon the Sabbath — Other martyr- 
doms — Victories of Judas Maccabeus — How Pompey capt- 
ured Jerusalem — Teaching of the Jewish doctors respect- 
ing the Sabbath — State of the Sabbatic institution at the 
first advent of the Saviour. 

The period of almost five centuries intervenes 
between the time of Nehemiah and the com- 
mencement of the ministry of the Redeemer. 
During this time an extraordinary change came 
over the Jewish people. Previously, they had 
been to an alarming extent idolaters, and out- 
breaking violators of the Sabbath. But after 
their return from Babylon they were never guilty 
of idolatry to any extent, the chastisement of 
that captivity effecting a cure of this evil.^ In 
like manner did they change their conduct rela- 
tive to the Sabbath ; and during this period they 
loaded the Sabbatic institution with the most 
burdensome and rigorous ordinances. A brief 

1 Speaking of the Babylonish captivity, in his note on Eze. 23: 
48, Dr. Clarke says: "From that time to the present day the 
Jews never relapsed into idolatry." 


survey of this period must suffice. Under the 
reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, the king of Syria, 
B. c. 170, the Jews were greatly oppressed. 

''King Antioclms -WToto to his whole kingdom, that all 
should be one people, and every one should leave his 
laws : so all the heathen agreed according to the command- 
ment of the king. Yea, many also of the Israelites con- 
sented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and pro- 
faned the Sabbath." ^ 

The greater part of the Hebrews remained 
faithful to God, and, as a consequence, were 
obliged to flee for their lives. Thus the histo- 
rian continues : — 

''Then many that sought after justice and judgment 
went down into the wilderness, to dwell there : both they, 
and their children, and their wives, and their cattle ; be- 
cause afflictions increased sore upon them, Now when it 
was told the king's servants, and the host that was at 
Jerusalem, in the city of David, that certain men, who 
had broken the king's commandment, were gone down 
into the secret places in the wilderness, they pursued after 
them a great number, and having overtaken them, they 
camped against them, and made war against them on the 
Sabbath day. And they said unto them, Let that which 
ye have done hitherto suffice ; come forth, and do accord- 
ing to the commandment of the king, and ye shall live. 
But they said, We will not come forth, neither Avill we do 
the king's commandment, to profane the Sabbath day. 
So then they gave them the battle with all speed. How- 
beit they answered them not, neither cast they a stone at 
them, nor stopped the places where they lay hid. But 
said. Let us die all in our innocency : heaven and earth 
shall testify for us, that ye put us to death wrongfully. 
So they rose up against them in battle on the Sabbath, 
and they slew them, with their v/ives and children, and 
their cattle, to the number of a thousand people." - 

In Jerusalem itself a like massacre took place. 

> 1 Mac. 1 : 41-43. 

"1 Mac. 2 : 29-38; Joscplius' Antiquities, b. xii. chap. vi. 


King Antioclius sent AppoUonins with an army 
of twenty-two thousand, 

" Yfho, coming to Jerusalem, and pretending peace, did 
forbear till the holy day of the Sabbath, when taking the 
Jews keeping holy day, he commanded his men to arm 
themselves. And so he slew all them that were gone to 
the celebrating of the Sabbath, and running through the 
city with weapons, slew great multitudes." ^ 

In view of these dreadfal acts of slaughter, 
Mattathias, ''an honorable and great man/' the 
father of Judas Maccabeus, with his friends de- 
creed thus : — 

" Wliosoever shall come to make battle with us on the 
Sabbath day we will fight against him ; neither will we 
die all, as our brethren that were murdered in the secret 

Yet were some martyred after this for observ- 
ing the Sabbath. Thus we read : — 

' ' And others, that had run together into caves near 
by, to keep the Sabbath day secretly, being discovered to 
Philip, were all burnt together, because they made a 
conscience to help themselves for the honor of the most 
sacred day." ^ 

After this, Judas Maccabeus did great exploits 
in defense of the Hebrews, and in resisting the 
dreadful oppression of the Syrian government. 
Of one of these battles we read : — 

' ' When he had given them this watchword, The help 
of God, himself leading the first band, he joined battle 
with Nicanor. And by the help of the Almighty they slew 
above nine thousand of their enemies, and wounded and 
maimed the most part of Nicanor's host, and so put all 
to flight ; and took their money that came to buy them, 
and pursued them far ; but lacking time, they returned : 
for it was the day before the Sabbath, and therefore they 

J 2 Mac. 5 : 25, 26. ' 1 Mac. 2 : 41. 3 2 Mac. 6:11. 


would no longer pursue them. So wlien they liad gath- 
ered their armor together, and spoiled their enemies, they 
occupied tliemselves about the Sabbath, yielding exceed- 
ing praise and thanks to the Lord, who had preserved 
them unto that day, which was the beginning of mercy 
distilling upon them. And after the Sa,bbath, when they 
had given part of the spoils to the maimed, and the wid- 
ows, and orphans, the residue they divided among them- 
selves and their servants."^ 

After this the Hebrews being attacked upon 
the Sabbath by their enemies, defeated them 
with much slaughter.^ 

About B. c. 63, Jerusalem was beseiged and 
taken by Pompey, the general of the Romans. 
To do this, it was necessary to fill an immense 
ditch, and to raise against the city a bank on 
which to place the engines of assault. Thus Jo- 
sephus relates the event : — ■ 

''And had it not been our practice, from the days of our 
forefathers, to rest on the seventh day, this bank could 
never have been perfected, by reason of the opposition 
the Jews would have made ; for though our law gives us 
leave then to defend ourselves against those that begin 
to fight with us, and assult us, yet does it not permit us 
to meddle %\'ith our enemies while they do anything else. 
Which thing when the Romans understood, on those days 
Avhich we call Sabbaths, they threw nothing at the Jews, 
nor came to any pitched battle with them, but raised up 
their earthen banks, and brought their engines into such 
forwardness, that they might do execution the next 

1 2 Mac. 8 : 23-28. M Mac. 9 : 43-49 ; Josephus' 

Antiquities, b. xiii. chap. i. ; 2 Mac. 15. 

3 Antiquities of the Jews, b. xiv. chap. iv. Here we call atten- 
tion to one of those historical frauds by which Sunday is shown 
to be the Sabbath, Dr. Justin Edwards states this case thus : 
"Pompey, the Roman general, knowing this, when besieging 
Jerusalem, would net attack them on the Sabbath; but spent the 
day in constructing his works, and preparing to attack them on 
Mondav, and in a manner that they could not withstand, and so 
he took the c\iy. "Sahbath Manual, p. 216. That is to say, the 
next dav after the Sabbath was Monday, and of course Sunday 


From this it is seen that Pompey carefully re- 
frained from any attack upon the Jews on each 
Sabbath during the siege, but spent that day in 
filling the ditch and raising the bank, that he 
might attack them on the day following each 
Sabbath, that is, upon Sunday. Josephus fur- 
ther relates that the priests were not at all hin- 
dered from their sacred ministrations by the stones 
throv/n among them from the engines of Pompey, 
even "if any melancholy accident happened;" 
and that when the city was taken and the enemy 
fell upon them, and cut the throats of those that 
were in the temples, yet did not the priests run 
away or desist from the offering of the accus- 
tomed sacrifices. 

These Cjuotations from Jewish history are suffi- 
cient to indicate the extraordinary change that 
came over that people concerning the Sabbath, 
after the Babylonish captivity. A brief view of 
the teaching of the Jewish doctors respecting the 
Sabbath at the time when our Lord beg^an his 
ministry will conclude this chapter: — 

' ' They enumerated about forty primary works, which 
they said were forbidden to be done on the Sabbath. 
Under each of these were numerous secondary works, 
which they said were also forbidden. . . . Among 
the primary works which were forbidden, were ploughing, 
sowing, reajiing, winnowing, cleaning, grinding, etc. Un- 
der the head of grinding, was included the breaking or 
dividing of things which were before imited. . . . 
Another of their traditions v/as, that, as threshing on the 
Sabbath was forbidden, the bruising of things, which was 
a species of threshing, v/as also forbidden. Of course, it 
was violation of the Sabbath to walk on green grass, 
for that would bruise or thresh it. So, as a man might 

was the Sabbath ! Yet Dr. E. well knew that in Pompey's time, 
63 years before Christ, Saturday was the only weekly Sabbath, 
and that Sunday and not Monday was the day of attack. 


not hunt on the Sabbath, he might not* catch a flea ; for 
that was a species of hunting. As a man might not carry 
a burden on the Sabbath, he might not carry water to a 
thirsty animal, for that was a species of burden ; but he 
might pour water into a trough, and lead the animal to 
it. . . . Yet should a sheep fall into a pit, they would 
readily lift him out, and bear him to a place of safety. 
. . . They said a man might minister to the sick for 
the purpose of relieving their distress, but not for the 
purpose of healing their diseases. He might put a cover- 
ing on a diseased eye, or anoint it with eye-salve for 
the purpose of easing the pain, but not to cure the eye." ^ 

Such was the remarkable change in the con- 
duct of the Jewish people toward the Sabbath ; 
and such was the teaching of their doctors re- 
specting it. The most merciful institution of God 
for mankind had become a source of distress; that 
which God ordained as a delight and a source of 
refreshment had become a yoke of bondage ; the 
Sabbath, made for man in paradise,, was now a 
most oppressive and burdensome institution. It 
was time that God should interfere. Next upon 
the scene of action appears the Lord of the Sab- 

J Sabbath Manual of Iho American Tract Society, pp. 214, 215. 




Mission of the Saviour — His qualifications as a judge of Sab- 
batic observance — State of the institution at his advent — 
The Saviour at Nazareth — At Capernaum — His discourse in 
the corn-field — Case of the man with a withered aim — The 
Saviour amorig his relatives — Case of the impotent man — 
Of the man born blind — Of the woman bound by Satan — 
Of the man who had the dropsy — Object of our Lord's 
teaching and miracles relative to the Sabbath — Unfairness 
of many anti Sabbatarians — Examination of Matt. 24: 20 
— The Sabbath not abrogated at the crucifixion — Fourth 
commandment after that event — Sabbath not changed at 
the resurrection of Christ — Examination of John 20 : 26 — 
Of Acts 2 : 1, 2 — Redemption furuisbes no argument for 
the change of the Sabbaih — Examination of Ps. 118: 22- 
24: — The Sabbath neither abolished nor changed as late as 
the close of the seventy weeks. 

In the fullness of time God sent forth his Son 
to be the Saviour of the world. He who fultilled 
this mission of infinite benevolence was both the 
Son of God and the Son of man. He was with 
the Father before the world was, and by him God 
created all things.^ The Sabbath being ordained 
at the close of that great work as a memorial to 
keep it in lasting remembrance, the Son of God, 
by whom all things were created, could not be 
otherwise than a perfect judge of its true design, 
and of its proper observance. The sixty-nine 
weeks of Daniel's prophecy being accomplished, 
the Redeemer began to preach, sa}"ing, " The time 
is fulfilled." ^ The ministry of the Saviour was 

1 Gal. 4 : 4, 5 ; John 1 : 1-10 ; 17 : •'. 2^ : Heh. 1 , 

2 Dan. 0:25; Mark 1:14, 1.5. 


at a time when the Sabbath of the Lord hid be- 
come utterly perverted from its gracious design, 
by the teaching of the Jewish doctors. As we 
have seen in the previous chapter, it was to the 
people no longer a source of refreshment and 
delight, but a cause of suffering and distress. It 
had been loaded down with traditions by the 
doctors of the law until its merciful and benefi- 
cent design was utterly hidden beneath the rub- 
bish of men's inventions. It being impracticable 
for Satan, after the Babylonish captivity, to cause 
the Jewish people, even by bloody edicts, to 
relinquish the Sabbath and openly to profane it 
as before that time, he turned their doctors so to 
pervert it, that its real character should be ut- 
terly changed and its observance entirely unlike 
that which would please God. We shall find 
that the Saviour never missed an opportunity to 
correct their false notions respecting the Sabbath ; 
and that he selected, with evident design, the 
Sabbath as the da.y on which to perform many of 
his merciful works. It will be found that no 
small share of his teaching through his whole 
ministry w^as devoted to a determination of what 
was lawful on the Sabbath, a singular fact for 
those to explain who think that he designed its 
abrogation. At the opening of our Lord's minis- 
try, we read thus : — 

' ' And Jesus returned in the power of tlie Spirit into 
Galilee ; and there \Y8nt out a fame of him through all 
the region round about. And he taught in their syna- 
gogues, being glorified of all. And he came to Nazareth, 
where he had been brought up ; and, as his custom was, 
he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and 
stood up for to read." ^ 

3 Luke 4 : 14-10. 


Sucli was the manner of tlie Saviour relative 
to the Sabbath. It is evident that in this he 
designed to show his regard for that day ; for it 
was not necessary thus to do in order to gain a 
congregation, as vast multitudes were ever ready 
to throng his steps. His testimony being re- 
jected, our Lord left Nazareth for Capernaum. 
Thus the sacred historian says : — 

"But he, passing tlirougli the midst of them, went his 
way, and came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and 
taught them on the Sabbath days. And they were as- 
tonished at his doctrine ; for his word was with power. 
And in the synagogue there was a man which had a spirit 
of an unclean devil ; and he cried out with a loud voice, 
saying, Let us alone ; what have we to do with thee, thou 
Jesus of Nazareth ; art thou come to destroy us ? I know 
thee who thou art ; the Holy One of God. And Jesus 
rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of 
him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, 
he came out of him, and hurt him not. And they were 
all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying. What a 
word is this ! for with authority and power he command- 
eth the unclean spirits, and they come out. And the 
fame of him went out into every place of the country 
round about. And he arose out of the synagogue, and 
entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother 
was taken with a great fever ; and they besought him for 
her. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever ; and 
it left her ; and immediately she arose and ministered 
unto them." ^ 

These miracles are the first which stand upon 
record as performed by the Saviour upon the 
Sabbath. But the strictness of Jewish views rel- 
ative to the Sabbath is seen in that they waited 
till sunset, that is, till the Sabbath v/as passed, ^ 
before they brought the sick to be healed. Thus 
it is added : — 

1 Luke 4 : 30-39 ; Mark 1 : 21-31 ; Matt. 8 : 5-15. 

2 See. on this point, the conclusion of chapter riii. 


''And at even -when the sun did set, they brought unto 
him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed 
with devils. And all the city was gathered together at 
the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers 
diseases, and cast out many devils ; and suffered not the 
devils to speak, because they knew him." ^ 

The next mention of the Sabbath is of peculiar 
interest : — 

" At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath day through 
the corn ; and his disciples were an hungered, and began 
to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the 
Pharisees saw it, they said unto him. Behold ihy disci- 
ples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath 
day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what Da- 
vid did, when he was an hungered, and they that were 
with him ; how he entered into the house of God, and did 
eat the shew-bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, 
neither for them which were with him, but only for the 
priests ? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the 
Sabbath day the priests in the temple profane the Sab- 
bath, and are blameless ? But I say unto you that in this 
place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had 
known what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sac- 
rifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For 
the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day."" 

The parallel text in Mark lias an important ad- 
dition to the conclusion as stated by Matthew : — 

"And he said unto them. The Sabbath was made for 
man, and not man for the Sabbath ; therefore the Son of 
man is Lord also of the Sabbath."^ 

The following points should be noted in exam- 
ining this text : — 

1. That the question at issue did not relate to 
the act of passing through the corn on the Sab- 
bath ; for the Pharisees themselves were in the 
company ; and hence it may be concluded that 

iMark 1 : 32-34; Luke 4 : 40. 

* Matt. 12 : 1 -S ; Mark 2 : 23-28 ; Luke 6 : 1-5. ^ Mark 2 : 27, 28. 


the Saviour and those with liim were either going 
to, or returning from, the synagogue. 

2. That the question raised by the Pharisees 
was this : Whether the disciples, in satisfying 
their hunger from the corn through which they 
were passing, were not violating the law of the 

3. That he to whom this question was pro- 
posed was in the highest degree competent to 
answer it ; for he was with the Father when the 
Sabbath was made.^ 

4. That the Saviour was pleased to appeal to 
scriptural precedents for the decision of this ques- 
tion, rather than to assert his own independent 

5. That the first case cited by the Saviour was 
peculiarly appropriate. David, fieeing for his life, 
entered the house of God upon the Sabbath,- 
and ate the shew-bread to satisfy his hunger. 
The disciples, to relieve their hunger, simply 
ate of the corn through whicli they were passing 
upon the Sabbath. If David did right, though 
eating in his necessity of that which belonged 
only to the priests, how little of blame could be 
attached to the disciples who had not even vio- 
lated a precept of the ceremonial law ? Thus 
much for the disciples' satisfying their hunger as 
they did upon the Sabbath. Our Lord's next 
example is designed to show what labor upon 
the Sabbath is not a violation of its sacredness. 

6. And hence the case of the priests is cited. 
The same God who had said in the fourth com- 
mandment, " Six days shalt thou labor and do all 
THY work," had commanded that the priests upon 

1 Comp. John 1 : 1-3 ; Gen. 1 : 1, 26 ; 2 : 1-3. 2 ggg chap. Anii. 


the Sabbath should offer certain sacrifices in his 

Herein was no contradiction ; for the labor per- 
formed by the priests upon the Sabbath was sim- 
ply the maintenance of the appointed worship 
of God in his temple, and was not doing what 
the commandment calls " THY work." Labor of 
this kind, therefore, the Saviour being judge, was 
not, and never had been, a violation of the Sab- 

7. But it is highly probable that the Saviour, 
in this reference to the priests, had his mind not 
merely upon the sacrifices which they offered 
upon the Sabbath, but upon the fact that they 
were required to prepare new shew-bread every 
Sabbath ; when the old was to be removed from 
the table before the Lord and eaten by them.- 
This view of the matter would connect the case 
of the priests with that of David, and both would 
bear with wonderful distinctness upon the act of 
the disciples. Then our Lord's argument could 
be appreciated when he adds : "But I say unto 
you, That in this place is one greater than the 
temple." So that if the shew-bread was to be 
prepared each Sabbath for the use of those who 
ministered in the temple, and those who did this 
were guiltless, how free from guilt also must be 
the disciples who, in following Him that was 
greater than the temple, but who had not where to 
lay his head, had eaten of the standing corn upon 
the Sabbath to relieve their hunger ? 

8. But our Lord next lays down a principle 
worthy of the most serious attention. Thus he 
adds : " But if ye had known what this meaneth, 

' Nam. '2S : 0, 10. '- Lev. 24 : H <) ; 1 Chrnn. : 32. 


I v/ill have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not 
have condemned the guiltless." The Most High 
had ordained certain labor to be performed upon 
the Sabbath, in order that sacrifices might be of- 
fered to himself But Christ afiirms upon the 
authority of the Scriptures,^ that there is some- 
thing far more acceptable to God than sacrifices, 
and that this is acts of mercy. If God held those 
guiltless who offered sacrifices upon the Sabbath, 
how much less would he condemn those who ex- 
tend mercy and relief to the distressed and suf- 
fering, upon that day. 

9. Nor does the Saviour even leave the subject 
here ; for he adds : " The Sabbath was made for 
man, and not man for the Sabbath ; therefore the 
Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath." If the 
Sabbath was made, certain acts were necessary 
in order to give existence to it. What were 
those acts ? (1) God rested upon the seventh 
day. This made the seventh day the rest-day or 
Sabbath of the Lord. (2) He blessed the day ; 
thus it became his holy day. (3) He sancti- 
fied it, or set it apart to a holy use; thus its 
observance became a part of man's duty toward 
God. There must be a time when these acts 
were performed. And on this point there is 
really no room for controversy. They were not 
performed at Sinai, nor in the wilderness of Sin, 
but in paradise. And this is strikingly confirmed 
by the language here used by the Saviour : " The 
Sabbath was made for the man, not the man for 
the Sabbath ;" ^ thus citing our minds to the man 

1 Rosea 6: 6. 

2 Thus the Greek Testament: Kal IT^eyev avTolg- To odjS- 
[iarov 6ia rbv avdguKov lyhero, sx o avOgomoc; dta to aaf^- 

Sablutli TH.-^torv. it 


Adam that was made of the dust of the ground, 
and aftirmino' that the Sabbath was made for 
him ; a conclusive testimony that the Sabbath 
originated in paradise. This fact is happily il- 
lustrated by a statement of the apostle Paul : 
" Neither was the man created for the woman ; 
but the woman for the man." ^ It will not be 
denied that this language has direct reference to 
the creation of Adam and Eve. If then we turn 
back to the beginning, we shall find Adam made 
of the dust of the ground. Eve taken from his 
side, and the Sabbath made of the seventh day.^ 
Thus the Saviour, to complete the solution of the 
question raised by the Pharisees, traces the Sab- 
bath back to the beginning, as he does the in- 
stitution of marriage when the same class pro- 
posed for his decision the lawfulness of divorce.^ 
His careful statement of the design of the Sab- 
bath and of marriage, tracing each to the begin- 
ning, in the one case striking down their perver- 
sion of the Sabbath, in the other, that of marriaore, 
is the most powerful testimony in behalf of the 
sacredness of each institution. The argument in 
the one case stands thus : In the beginning God 
created one man and one woman, designing that 
they TWO should be one flesh. The marriage re- 
lation therefore was designed to unite simply two 
persons, and this union should be sacred and in- 
dissoluble. Such was the bearing of his aroru- 
ment upon the question of divorce. In relation 
to the Sabbath, his argument is this : God made 
the Sabbath for the man that he made of the dust 
of the ground ; and being thus made for an un- 
fallen race, it can only be a merciful and benefi- 

»1 Cor. 11:9. « Gen. 2: 1-3, 7, 21- 23. 3 Matt. 19; 3-9. 


cent institution. He who made the Sabbath for 
man before the fail saw wliat man needed, and 
knew how to supply that want. It v/as given to 
him for rest, refreshment, and delight ; a charac- 
ter that it sustained after the fali,^ but which the 
Jews had wholly lost sight of" And thus our 
Lord lays open his whole heart concerning the 
Sabbath. He carefully determines what works 
are not a violation of the Sabbath ; and this he 
does by Old-Testament examples, that it may be 
evident that he is introducing no change in the 
institution; he sets aside their rigorous and bur- 
densome traditions concerning the Sabbath, by 
tracing it back to its mercifid origin in paradise ; 
and having thus disencumbered the Sabbath of 
Pharisaic rigor, he leaves it upon its paradisiacal 
foundation, enforced by all the authority and sa- 
credness of that law which he came not to de- 
stroy, but to magnify and make honorable.^ 

10. Having thus divested the Sabbath of all 
Pharisaic additions, our Lord concludes with this 
remarkable declaration : *' Therefore the Son of 
man is Lord also of the Sabbath." (1) It was 
not a disparagement to the Sabbath, but an honor, 
that God's only Son should claim to be its Lord. 
(2) Nor was it derogatory to the character of the 
Redeemer to be the Lord of the Sabbath ; with 
all the high honors pertaining to his messiahship 
he is ALSO Lord of the Sabbath. Or, if we take 
the expression in Matthew, he is " Lord EVEX of 
the Sabbath day," it implies that it is not a small 
honor to possess such a title. (3) This title im- 
plies that the Messiah should be the 2:)rotector, 

1 Ex. 16:23; 23:12; Isa. 53 : 18, 14. 

■^See couclusion of cV.ap, ix. "Matt. 5:17-19; Isa. 42:21. 


and not the destroyer, of the Sabbath. And 
hence that he was the rightful being to decide 
the proper nature of Sabbatic observance. With 
these memorable words ends our Lord's first dis- 
course concerning the Sabbath. 

From this time the Pharisees watched the Sav- 
iour to find an accusation against him of violating 
the Sabbath, The next example will show the 
malignity of their hearts, their utter perversion 
of the Sabbath, the urgent need of an authoritative 
correction of their false teachings respecting it, 
and the Saviour's unanswerable defense : — 

" And when he was departed thence, he went into their 
synagogue : and behold there was a man which had his 
hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it law- 
ful to heal on the Sabbath days ? that they might accuse 
him. And he said unto them. What man shall there be 
among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit 
on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it 
out ? How much then is a man better than a sheep \ 
Wherefore, it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days. 
Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And 
he stretched it forth ; and it wae restored whole, like as 
the other. Then the Pharisees went out and held a coun- 
cil against him, how they might destroy him." ^ 

What was the act that caused this madness of 
the Pharisees ? On the part of the Saviour, it 
was a word ; on the part of the man, it was the 
act of stretching out his arm. Did the law of the 
Sabbath forbid either of these things ? No one 
can affirm such a thing. But the Saviour had 
publicly transgressed that tradition of the Phar- 
isees that forbade the doing of anything whatever 
toward the healing of the sick upon the Sabbath. 
And how necessary that such a wicked tradition 
should be swept away, if the Sabbath itself was 

J Matt. 12 : 0-14 ; Mark n : 1-0 ; Luke : fill. 


to be preserved for man. But the Pharisees were 
filled with such madness that they went out of 
the synagogue and consulted how they might 
destroy the Saviour. Yet Jesus only acted in 
behalf of the Sabbath in setting aside those tra- 
ditions by which they had perverted it. 

After this, our Lord returned into his own 
country, and thus we read of him : — 

' ' And when the Sabbath day was come, he began to 
teach in the synagogue ; and many hearing him were as- 
tonished, saying, From whence hath this man these 
things ? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, 
that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands ] " ^ 

Not far from this time we find the Saviour at 
Jerusalem, and the following miracle was per- 
formed upon the Sabbath : — 

'^ And a certain man was there which had an infirmity 
thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and 
knew that he had been there now a long time in that case, 
he saith unto him. Wilt thou be made whole ? The impo- 
tent man answered him. Sir, I have no man, when the 
water is troubled, to put me into the pool ; but while I 
am coming, another steppeth down before me, Jesus saith 
unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and vralk. And imme- 
diately the man was made whole, and took up his bed 
and Avalked ; and on the same day was the Sabbath. The 
Jews therefore said unto him that was cured. It is the 
Sabbath day : It is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. 
He answered them. He that made me whole, the same 
said unto me. Take up thy bed, and walk. Then asked 
they him. What man is that which said unto thee, Take 
up thy bed, and walk ? . . . The man departed and 
told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him 
whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and 
sought to slay him, because he had done these things on 
the Sabbath dsij. But Jesus answered them. My Father 
worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought 
the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the 

1 Mark 6 : 1-G. 

126 HisTOiiY or THE sabbath. 

Sabbath, but said also tliat God was liis Father, making 
himself equal with God." ^ 

Our Lord here stands charged with two crimes: 
1. He had broiicn the Sabbath. 2. He had made 
himself equal with God. The first accusation is 
based on these particulars : (1) By his word he 
had healed the impotent man. But this violated 
no law of God ; it only set at naught that tradi- 
tion which forbade anything to be done for curing 
diseases upon the Sabbath. (2) He had directed 
the man to carry his bed. But this as a burden 
was a mere trifle,^ like a cloak or mat, and was 
designed to show the reality of his cure, and thus 
to honor the Lord of the Sabbath who had healed 
him. Moreover, it was not such a burden as the 
Scriptures forbid upon the Sabbath.^ (3) Jesus 
justified what he had done by comparing his 
present act of healing to that work which his 
Father had done hitherto, i. c, from the begin- 
ning of the creation. Ever since the Sabbath was 
sanctified in paradise, the Father, by his provi- 
dence, had continued to mankind, even upon the 
Sabbath, all the merciful acts by which the human 
race has been preserved. This v/ork of the Fa- 
ther was of precisely the same nature as that 
which Jesus had now done. These acts did not 
argue that the Father had hitherto lightly es- 
teemed the Sabbath, for he had most solemnly 
enjoined its observance in the law and in the 
prophets ;'^ a.nd as our Lord had most expressly 
recognized their authority,^ there was no ground 

iJohn 5:1-18. 2 Dr. Bloomtield's Greek 

Testament on this text; family Testament of the American Tract 
Society on the same; Nevins' Biblical Antiquities, pp. 02, 63. 

3 Compare Jer. 17 : 21-27 with Nehcmiah 13 : 15-20. 

4 Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20 : 8-11 ; Isa. 56 ; 53 : 13, 14 ; Eze. 20. 
'Gal. 4:4; Matt. 5 : 17-1'J ; 7 : 12 ; H> : 17 ; I.nko 10 : 17. 


to accuse him of disregarding the Sabbath, when 
he had only followed the example of the Father 
from the beginning. The Saviour's answer to 
these two charges will remove all difficulty : — 

''Then answered. Jesiis and said nnto them, Yerily, 
verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of him- 
self, but what he seeth the Father do ; for what things 
soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise."^ 

This answer involves two points: 1. That he 
was following his Father's perfect example, who 
had ever laid open to him all his works; and 
hence as he was doing that only which had ever 
been the pleasure of the Father to do, he was not 
engaged in the overthrow of the Sabbath. 2. And 
by the meek humility of this answer — " The Son 
can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the 
Father do" — he showed the groundlessness of 
their charge of self- exaltation. Thus, in nothing 
was there left a chance to answer him again. 

Several months after this, the same case of 
healing was under discussion : 

" Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one 
work, and ye all marvel. Moses therefore gave unto you 
circumcision ('not because it is of Moses, but of the 
fathers); and ye on the Sabbath-day circumcise a man. 
If a man on the Sabbath day receive circumcision, that the 
law of Moses should not be broken ; are ye angry at me, 
because I have made a man every whit whole on the Sab- 
bath day?" ^^ 

This Scripture contains our Lord's second an- 
swer relative to healing the impotent man upon 
the Sabbath. In his first answer he rested his 
defense upon the fact that what he had done was 
precisely the same as that which his Father had 
done hitherto, that is, from the beginning of the 

iJohn 5 :19. s John 7 : 21-23. 


world ; which implies that the Sabbath had ex- 
isted from the same point, else the example of 
the Father during this time would not be relevant. 
In this, his second answer, a similar point is in- 
volved relative to the origin of the Sabbath. His 
defense this time rests upon the fact that his act 
of healing no more violated the Sabbath than did 
the act of circumcising upon the Sabbath. But 
if circumcision, which was ordained in the time of 
Abraham, was older than the Sabbath — as it cer- 
tainly was if the Sabbath originated in the wil- 
derness of Sin — there would be an impropriety 
in the allusion; for circumcision would be en- 
titled to the priority as the more ancient institu- 
tion. It would be strictly proper to speak of the 
more recent institution as involving no violation 
of an older one ; but it would be otherwise to 
speak of an ancient institution as involving no 
violation of one more recent. The language there- 
fore implies that the Sabbath was older than cir- 
cumcision ; in other words, more ancient than the 
days of Abraham. These two answers of the 
Saviour are certainly in harmony with the unan- 
imous testimony of the sacred writers, that the 
Sabbath originated with the sanctification of the 
rest-day of the Lord in Eden. 

What had the Saviour done to justify the 
hatred of the Jewish people toward him ? He 
had healed upon the Sabbath, with one word, a 
man who had been helpless thirty-eight j^ears. 
Was not this act in strict accordance with the 
Sabbatic institution ? Our Lord has settled this 
point in the affirmative by weighty and unan- 
swerable arguments,^ not in this case alone, but 

^Grotius well says: "If he healed any on the Sabbath he made 


in others already noticed, and also in those which 
remain to be noticed. Had he left the man in 
his wretchedness because it was the Sabbath, 
when a word would have healed him, he would 
have dishonored the Sabbath, and thrown re- 
proach upon its Author. We shall find the Lord 
of the Sabbath still further at work in its behalf 
in rescuing it from the hands of those who had 
so utterly perverted its design; a work quite 
unnecessary, had he designed to nail the institu- 
tion to his cross. 

The next incident to be noticed is the case of 
the man that was born blind. Jesus seeing him 
said : — 

"I must work the works of him that sent me whilst it 
is day ; the night cometh when no man can work. As 
long as I am in the world, I am the light of the vrorld. 
When he had thus spoken he spat on the ground, and 
made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the 
blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go wash in 
the pool of Siloam (which is by interpretation, Sent). 
He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. 

And it was the Sabbath day when Jesus made 

the clay and opened his eyes." ^ 

Here is the record of another of our Lord's 
merciful acts upon the Sabbath day. He saw a 
man blind from his birth ; moved with compassion 
toward him, he moistened clay and anointed his 
eyes, and sent him to the pool to wash ; and when 
he had washed he received sight. The act was 
alike worthy of the Sabbath and of its Lord : and 
it pertains only to the opponents of the Sabbath 
noiv, as it pertained only to the enemies of its 

it appear, not only from the law, but also from their received 
opinions, that such works were not forbidden on the Sabbath." — 
The Truth of the Christian Eeligion, b. v. sect. 7. 
1 John 9 : 1-16. 


Lord then, to see in this even the slightest viola- 
tion of the Sabbath. 

After this we read as follows : — 

"And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the 
Sabbath. And behold there was a woman which had a 
spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bo\yed to- 
gether, and conld in no wise Uft up herself. And when 
Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, 
Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he 
laid his hands on her ; and immediately she was made 
straight, and glorified God. And the ruler of the syna- 
gogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had 
healed on the Sabbath day, and said unto the people, 
There are six days in which men ought to work : in them 
therefore come and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day. 
The Lord then answered him and said, Thou hypocrite, 
doth not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or 
his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering \ 
And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, 
whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be 
loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day ? And when 
he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed : 
and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that 
were done by him."^ 

This time a daughter of Abraham, that is, a 
pious woman, ^ who had been bound by Satan 
eighteen years, was loosed from that bond upon 
the Sabbath day. Jesus silenced the clamor of 
his enemies by an appeal to their own course of 
action in loosing the ox and leading him to water 
upon the Sabbath. With this answer our Lord 
made ashamed all his adversaries, and all the 
people rejoiced for all the glorious things that 
were done by him. The last of these glorious 
acts with which Jesus honored the Sabbath is 
thus narrated : — , 

" And it came to pass as he went into the house of one 

iLulic l-", : 10-17. n Pet. 3:0. 


of tiie chief Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath day, 
that they watched him. And, behold, there was a certain 
man before him which had the dropsy. And Jesiis an swer- 
ing spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it law- 
ful to heal on the Sabbath day 1 And they held their peace. 
And he took him, and healed him, and let him go ; and 
answered them, saying. Which of you shall have an ass or 
an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him 
out on the Sabbath day ? And they could not answer 
him again to these things." ^ 

Ifc is evident that the Pharisees and lawyers 
durst not answer the question, Is it lawful to heal 
on the Sabbath day ? If they said, '' Yes," they 
condemned their own tradition. If they said, 
" No," they were unable to sustain their ansv/er 
by fair argument. Hence they remained silent. 
And when Jesus had healed the man, he asked a 
second question equally embarrassing : Which of 
you shall have an ox fall into a pit and will not 
straightway pull him out on the Sabbath ? They 
could not answer him again to these things. It 
is apparent that our Lord's argument with the 
Pharisees from time to time relative to the Sab- 
bath had satisfied them at last that silence rela- 
tive to their traditions v/as wiser than speech. 
In his public teaching the Saviour declared that 
the weightier matters of the law w^ere judgment, 
MERCY, and faith ; ^ and his long- continued and 
powerful effort in behalf of the Sabbath, was to 
vindicate it as a merciful institution, and to rid 
it of Pharisaic traditions, by which it was per- 
verted from its original purpose. Those v/ho 
oppose the Sabbath are here guilty of unfairness 
in two particulars : 1. They represent these 
Pharisaic rigors as actually belonging to the 
Sabbatic institution. By this means they turn 

U.nkel4:l-6. 2 Matt. 23 : 23. 


the minds of men against the Sabbath. 2. And 
having done this they represent tlie effort of the 
Saviour to set aside those traditions as directed 
to the overthrow of the Sabbath itself. 

And now we come to the Saviour s memorable 
discourse upon the mount of Olives, on the very 
eve of his crucifixion, in which for the last time 
he mentions the Sabbath : — 

' ' When ye therefore shall see the abomination of deso- 
lation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the 
holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand), then let 
them which be in Judea flee into the mountains : let him 
which is on the house-top not come down to take any- 
thing out of his house ; neither let him which is in the 
field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them 
that are with child, and to them that give suck in those 
days ! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, 
neither on the Sabbath day ; for then shall be great trib- 
ulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world 
to this time, no, nor ever shall be." ^ 

In this language our Lord brings to view the 
dreadful calamities of the Jewish people, and the 
destruction of their city and temple as predicted 
by Daniel the prophet;" and his watchful care over 
his people as their Lord leads him to point out 
their means of escape. 

1. He gives them a token by which they should 
know w^hen this terrible overthrow was immedi- 
ately impending. It was " the abomination of 
desolation" standing "in the holy place;" or, as 
expressed by Luke, the token was "Jerusalem 
compassed with armies." ^ The fulfillment of this 
sign is recorded by the historian Josephus. After 
stating that Cestius, the Roman commander, at 
the commencement of the contest between the 

1 Matt. 24 : 15-21. 2 iJan. 9 : 26, 27. » L„ke 21 : 20. 


Jews and the Romans, encompassed the city of 
Jerusalem with an army, he adds : — 

'' Who, had he but continued the siege a little longer, 
had certainly taken the city ; but it was, I suppose, 
owing to the aversion God had already at the city and 
the sanctuary, that he was hindered from putting an end 
to the war that very day. It then happened that Cestius 
was not conscious either how the besieged despaired of 
success, nor how courageous the people were for him ; 
and so he recalled his soldiers from the place, and by 
despairing of any expectation of taking it, without having 
received any disgrace, he retired from the city, without 
any reason in the world. "^ 

2. This sign being seen, the disciples were to 
know that the desolation of Jerusalem was nigh. 
" Then," says Christ, " let them which be in Judea 
flee into the mountains." Josephus records the 
fulfillment of this injunction : — 

"After this calamity had befallen Cestius, many of the 
most eminent of the Jews swam away from the city, as 
from a ship when it was going to sink." ^ 

Eusebius also relates its fulfillment : — 

''The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusa- 
lem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, 
given to men of approved piety there before the war, re- 
moved from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond 
the Jordan, called Pella. Here, those that believed in 
Christ, having removed from Jerusalem, as if holy men 
had entirely abandoned the royal city itself, and the 
whole land of Judea ; the divine justice for their crimes 
against Christ and his apostles, finally overtook them, 
totally destroying the whole generation of these evil-doers 
from the earth." ^ 

3. So imminent was the danger when this sign 
should be seen that not a moment was to be lost. 

1 Jewish Wars, b. ii. chap. xix. ^ id. b. ii. chap. xx. 

^Eccl. Hist. b. iii. chap. v. 


He that was upon the housetop could not even 
come down to take a single article from his house. 
The man that was in the field was forbidden to 
return to the house for his clothes. Not a mo- 
ment was to be lost ; they must flee as they were, 
and flee for life. And pitiable indeed was the 
case of those who could not flee. 

4. In view of the fact that the disciples must 
flee the moment that the promised token should 
appear, our Lord directed them to pray for two 
things: 1. That their flight should not be in the 
winter. 2. That it should not be upon the Sab- 
bath day. Their pitiable situation should they 
be compelled to flee to the mountains in the 
depth of winter, without time to even take their 
clothes, sufiiciently attests the importance of the 
first of these petitions, and the tender care of Je- 
sus as the Lord of his people. The second of 
these petitions will be found equally expressive 
of his care as Lord of the Sabbath. 

5. But it is replied that this last petition has 
reference only to the fact that the Jews would 
then be keeping the Sabbath strictly, and as a 
consequence the city ga.tes would be closed that 
day, and those be punished with death who 
should attempt to flee ; and hence this petition 
indicates nothing in proof of Christ's regard for 
the Sabbath. An assertion so often and so con- 
fidently uttered should be well founded in truth ; 
yet a brief examination will show that such is not 
the case. 1. The Saviour's language has reference 
to the whole land of Judea, and not to Jerusalem 
only : " Let tliem which be in Judea flee into the 
mountains." The closing of the city gates could 
not therefore aflect the flight of but a part of the 
disciples. 2. Josephus states the remarkable 


fact that when Cestius was marching upon Jeru- 
salem in fulfillment of the Saviour's token, and 
had reached Lydrla, not many miles from Jerusa- 
lem, " he found the city empty of its men ; for the 
whole multitude were gone up to Jerusalem to the 
feast of tabernacles."^ The law of Moses re- 
quired the presence of every male in Israel at this 
feast in Jerusalem ; - and thus, in the providence 
of God, the disciples had no Jewish enemies left 
in the country to hinder their flight. 3. The 
Jewish nation being thus assembled at Jerusalem 
did most openly violate the Sabbath a few days 
prior to the flight of the disciples ; a singular 
commentary on their supposed strictness in keep- 
ing it at that time. ^ Thus Josephus says of the 
march of Cestius upon Jerusalem that, 

1 Jewish Wars, b. ii. chap. xix. - Deut. 16 : 16. 

3 Thus remarks Mr. Crozier in the Advent Harbinger for Dec. 
6, 1851 : "The reference to the Sabbath in Matt. 24 :20, only 
shows that the Jews who rejected Christ would be keeping the 
Sabbath at the destruction of Jerusalem and would, in conse- 
quence, add to the dangers of the disciules' flight by punishing 
them perhaps with death for fleeing on that day." 

And Mr. Marsh, forgetting that Christ forbade his disciples to 
take anything with them in their flight, uses the following lan- 
guage : " If the disciples should attempt to flee from Jerusalem 
on that day and carry their thin^is, the Jews would embarrass 
their flight and perhaps put them to death. The Jews would be 
keeping the Sabbath, because they rejected Christ and his gos- 
pel." — Advent Harbinger, Jan. 24, 1852. These quotations betray 
the bitterness of their authors. In honorable distinction from these 
anti-Sabbatarians, the following is quoted from Mr. William Mil- 
ler, himself an observer of the first day of the week: — 

*' 'Neither on the Sabbath day.' Because it was to be kept as 
a day of rest, and no servile work was to be done on that day, 
nor would it be right for them to travel on that day. Christ has 
in this place sanctioned the Sabbath, and clearly shows us our 
duty to let no trivial circumstance cause us to break the law of 
the Sabbath. Yet how many who profess to believe in Christ, at 
this present day, make it a point to visit, travel, and feast, on this 
day? What a false-hearted profession must that person make 
who can thus treat with contempt the moral law of God, and de- 
spise the precepts of the Lord Jesus ! We may here learn our 
obligation to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."— Ex- 
position of Matt. 24, p. 18. 


' ' He pitched his camp at a certain place called Gabao, 
fifty furlongs distant from Jerusalem. But as for the 
Jews, when they saw the war approaching to their me- 
tropoUs, they left the feast, and betook themselves to 
their arms ; and taking courage greatly from their multi- 
tude, went in a sudden and disorderly manner to the 
fight, with a great noise, and without any consideration 
had of the rest of the seventh day, although the Sabbath 
was the day to which they had the greatest regard ; but 
that rage which made them forget the religious observa- 
tion [of the Sabbath] made them too hard for their ene- 
mies in the fight ; with such violence therefore did they 
fall upon the Romans, as to break into their ranks, and 
to march through the midst of them, making a great 
slaughter as they went," ^ etc. 

Thus it is seen that on the eve of the disciples' 
flight the rage of the Jews toward their enemies 
made them utterly disregard the Sabbath ! 4. 
But after Cestius encompassed the city with his 
army, thus giving the Saviour's signal, he sud- 
denly withdrew it, as Josephus says, "without 
any reason in the world." This was the moment 
of flight for the disciples, and mark how the prov- 
idence of God opened the way for those in Jeru- 
salem : — 

* ' But when the robbers perceived this unexpected re- 
treat of his, they resumed their courage, and ran after the 
hinder parts of his army, and destroyed a considerable 
number of both their horsemen and footmen : and now 
Cestius lay all night at the camp which was at Scopus, 
and as he went off farther next day, he thereby invited the 
enemy to follow him, who still fell upon the hindmost 
and destroyed them."* 

This sally of the excited multitude in pursuit 
of the Romans was at the very moment when the 
disciples were commanded to flee, and could not 
but afford them the needed facility of escape. 

1 .Jewish<5, b. ii. choj). >;ix. -Id. h. ii. rhaj). \ix. 


Had the flight of Cestius happened upon the 
Sabbath, undoubtedly the Jews would have pur- 
sued liim upon that day, as under less exciting 
circumstances they had a few days before gone 
out several miles to attack him upon the Sabbath. 
It is seen, therefore, that whether in city or coun- 
try, the disciples were not in danger of being at- 
tacked by their enemies, even had their flight 
been upon the Sabbath day. 

(). There is therefore but one view that can 
be taken relative to the meaning of these words 
of our Lord, and that is that he thus spake, out 
of sacred regard for the Sabbath. For in his ten- 
der care for his people he had given them a pre- 
cept that would require them to violate the Sab- 
bath, should the moment for flight happen upon 
that day. For the command to flee was impera- 
tive the instant the promised signal should be 
seen, and the distance to Pella, where they found 
a place of refuge, was at least sixty miles. This 
prayer which the Saviour left with the disciples 
would cause them to remember the Sabbath when- 
ever they should come before God. It was there- 
fore impossible that the apostolic church should 
forget the day of sacred rest. Such a prayer, that 
they might not at a future time be compelled to 
violate the Sabbath, was a sure and certain means 
of perpetuating its sacred observance for the 
coming forty years, until the final destruction of 
Jerusalem, and was never forgotten by that early 
church, as we shall hereafter see. ^ The Saviour, 
who had taken unwearied pains during his whole 
ministry to show that the Sabbath was a merci- 
ful institution and to set aside those traditions 

1 See chap. xvi. 


by whicli it Lad been perverted from its true de- 
sign, did, in this his last discourse, most tenderly 
commend the Sabbath to his people, uniting in 
the same petition their own safety and the sacred- 
ness of the rest-day of the Lord/ 

A few days after this discourse, the Lord of the 
Sabbath was nailed to the cross as the great sac- 
rifice for the sins of men.^ The Messiah was thus 
cut off in the midst of the seventieth week ; and 
by his death ho caused the sacrifice and oblation 
to cease. ^ 

Paul thus describes the aln-ogation of the typ- 
ical system at the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus : — 

"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was 
against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the 
way, nailing it to his cross Let no man there- 
fore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an 
holy day, or of the nev.^ moon, or of the sabbath days ; 
Avhich are a shadow of things to come ; but the body is 
of Christ.'"' 

The object of tliis action is declared to be the 
handwriting of ordinances. The manner of its 
abrogation is thus stated: 1. Blotted out; 2. 
Nailed to the cross; 3. Taken out of the way. 
Its nature is shown in these words : " Against us " 
and " contrary to us." The things contained in 

1 President Edwards says : "A further argument for the per- 
petuity of the Sabbath vve have in Matt. 24 : 20 : ' Pray ve that 
your flight be not in the winter, neithrr on the Sabbath day.' 
Christ is here speaking of tlie flight of the apostles and other 
Christians out of Jerusalem and Judoa, just before their final 
destruction, as is manifest by the whole context, and especially 
by the IGth verse : ' Then let them whicli be in Judea flee into the 
mountains.' But this final destruction of Jerusalem was after the 
dissolution of the Jewish constitution, and after the Christian dis- 
pensation was fully set up. Yet it is plainly implied in these 
words of our Lord, that even then Christians were bound to a 
strict observation of the Sabbath." — Workfi of President Edioards, 
vol. iv. i>p. G21, 622, New York, 184i). 

'-' Matt. 27 : Isa. M. ^ Dan. 1' : 21-27. ' Col. 2 : 1417. 


it were meats, drinks, holy clays [Gr. toprr/q a feast 
day], new moons and sabbaths.^ The whole is 
declared a shadow of good things to come ; and 
the body which casts this shadow is of Christ. 
That law which was proclaimed by the voice of 
God and written by his own finger upon the ta- 
bles of stone, and deposited beneath the mercy- 
seat, was altogether unlike that system of carnal 
ordinances that was ^Titten by Moses in a book, 
and placed in the side of the ark.^ It would 
be absurd to speak of the tables of stone 
as NAILED to the cross ; or to speak of blotting 
out what was engraved in stone. It would be 
blasphemous to represent the Son of God as pour- 
ino^ out his blood to blot out what the finsrer of 
his Father had written. It would be to confound 
all the immutable principles of morality, to rep- 
resent the ten commandments as " contrary " to 
man's moral nature. It would be to make Christ 
the minister of sin, to represent him as dying to 
utterly destroy the moral law. Nor does that 
man keep truth on his side who represents the 
ten commandments as among the things contained 
in Paul's enumeration of what was abolished. 
Nor is there any excuse for those who would de- 
stroy the ten commandments with this statement 
of Paul ; for he shows, last of al>, that what was 
thus abrogated was a shadow of good things to 
come — an absurdity if applied to the moral law. 

1 For an extended view of these Jewish festivals see chapter vii. 

2Deut. 10:4, 5, compared with 31 : 24-23. Thus Morer con- 
trasts the phrase "in the ark," which is used with reference to 
the two tables, with the expression "in the side of the ark," as 
used respecting the book of the law, and says of the latter : " In 
the side of the ark, or more critically, in the outside of the ark; 
or in a chest by itself on the right side of the ark, saith the Tar- 
gum of Jonathan." — Mover's Dialogues on the Lord's Daxj, p. 211, 
London, 1701. 


The feasts, new moons, and sabbaths, of the cere- 
monial law, which Paul declared to be abolished 
in consequence of the abrogation of that code, 
have been particularly noticed already/ That 
the Sabbath of the Lord is not included in their 
number, the following facts evince : — 

1. The Sabbath of the Lord was made before 
sin entered our world. It is not therefore one of 
those things that shadow redemption from sin.^ 

2. Being made for man before the fall it is 
not one of those things that are against him and 

CONTRARY to him.^ 

3. When the ceremonial sabbaths were ordain- 
ed they were carefully distinguished from the 
Sabbath of the Lord.* 

4. The Sabbath of the Lord does not OAve its 
existence to the handwriting of ordinances, but is 
found in the very bosom of that law which Jesus 
came not to destroy. The abrogation of the cer- 
emonial law could Jiot therefore abolish the Sab- 
bath of the fourth commandment.^ 

5. The effort of our Lord through his whole 
ministry to redeem the Sabbath from the thrall- 
dom of the Jewish doctors, and to vindicate it as 
a merciful institution, is utterly inconsistent with 
tlie idea that he nailed it to his cross, as one of 
those things against man and contrary to him. 

6. Our Lord's petition respecting the flight of 
the disciples from Judea, recognizes the sacred- 
ness of the Sabbath many years after the cruci- 
fixion of the Saviour. 

7. The perpetuity of the Sabbath in the new 
earth is not easily reconciled with the idea that 

iSee chap. vii. -Sec chap. ii. ^Mark 2 : 27. 

' \a'v. 'j:] : '■);, Cs. •' Cell, li : 1 G ; Kx. 'JO ; Mad. o : 17. V.>. 


it was blotted out and nailed to our Lord's cross 
as one of those tilings that were contrary to 
man. ^ 

8. Because the authority of the fourth com- 
mandment is expressly recognized after the Sav- 
iour's crucifixion. ^ 

9. And finally, because the royal law which is 
unabolished embodies the ten commandments, 
and consequently embraces and enforces the Sab- 
bath of the Lord. ^ 

When the SaviQur died upon the cross the 
whole typical system which had pointed forv/ard 
to that event as the commencement of its an- 
titype, expired with him. The Saviour being 
dead, Jose])h of Arimathea went in unto Pilate 
and begged the body of Jesus, and with the as- 
sistance of Nicodemus, buried it in his own new 
tomb. ^ 

"And that day was tlie preparation, and the Sabbath 
drew on. And the women also, which came with him from 
Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulcher, and how 
his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared 
spices and ointments ; and rested the Sabbath day accord- 
ing to the commandment. Now upon the first day of the 
week, very early in the morning, they came unto the 
sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, 
and certain others with them." ^ 

This text is worthy of special attention. 1. 
Because it is an express recognition of the fourth 
commandment after the crucifixion of the Lord 
Jesus. 2. Because it is the most remarkable case 
of Sabbatic observance in the v/hole Bible. The 

1 Isa. 66 : 22, 23. See also the close of chap, xix of this work. 

2 Luke 23 : 54-56. 

3 James 2 : 8-12 ; Matt. 5 : 17-19 ; Rom. 3 : 19, 31. 

4 Heb. 9 ; 10 ; Luke 23 : 46-53 ; John 19 : 38-42. 

5 Luke 23 : 54-56. 


Lord of the Sabbath was dead ; preparation be- 
ins: made for his embahnino- when the Sabbath 
drew on it was suspended, and they rested, says 
the sacred historian, according to the command- 
ment. .3. Because it shows that the Sabbath day 
according to the commandment is the day before 
the first day of the week ; thus identifying the 
seventli day in the commandment with the sev- 
enth day of the New-Testament week. 4. Be- 
cause it is a direct testimony that the knowledge 
of the true seventh day was preserved as late as 
the crucifixion; for they observed the day en- 
joined in the commandment; and that was the 
day on which the Most High had rested from the 
work of creation. 

In the course of the day following this Sab- 
bath, that is, upon the first day of the week, it 
was ascertained that Jesus was risen from the 
dead. It appears that this event must have taken 
place upon that day, though it is not thus stated 
in express terms. At this point of time it is sup- 
posed by many that the Sabbath was changed 
from the seventli to the first day of the week ; 
and that the sacredness of the seventh day was 
then transferred to the first da}^ of the week, 
which thenceforth was the Christian Sabbath, 
enforced by all the authority of the fourth com- 
mandment. To judge of the truthfulness of these 
positions, let us read with care each mention of 
the first day found in the four evangelists. Thus 
writes Matthew : — 

"In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn to- 
ward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene 
and the other Mary to see the sepulcher." 

Thus als(j Mark writes : — 


''Andwliei) the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene 
and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought 
sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And 
very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they 

came unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sun 

ISoYi when Jesus Avas risen early the tirst day of the week, 
he appeared first to Mary Magdalene." 

Luke uses the following language : — 

"And they returned and prepared spices and ointments, 
and rested the Sabbath day according to the command- 
ment. Now upon the first day of the week, A^ery early 
in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing 
the spices which the}'- had prepared, and certain others 
vdth them." 

John bears the following testimony : — 

"The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene 
early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulcher, and seeth 

the stone taken away from the sepulcher Then 

the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, 
when the doors Avere shut v/here the disciples were as- 
sembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in 
their midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you."^ 

In these texts the foundation of the " Christian 
Sabbath" must be sought — if indeed such an insti- 
tution actually exists — for there are no other rec- 
ords of the first day which relate to the time when 
it is supposed to have become sacred. These 
texts are supposed to prove that at the resurrec- 
tion of the Saviour, the first day Pvbsorbed the 
sacredness of the seventh, elevating itself from 
the rank of a secular to that of a sacred day, and 
abasing the Sabbath of the Lord to the rank of 
" the six working days." ^ Yet the following facts 
must be regarded as very extraordinary indeed 

iMatt. 28:1; Mark IG : 1, 2, 9'; Luke 2G : 50; 2i : 1 ; John 
20:1, ll>. 'Exe. 40:1. 


if this supposed change of the Sabbath here took 
place : — 

1. That these texts should contain no mention 
of this change of the Sabbatli. 2. That they 
should carefully discriminate between the Sab- 
bath of the fourth commandment and the first 
day of the week. 3. That they should apply no 
sacred title to that day ; particularly that they 
should omit the title of Christian Sabbath. 4. 
That they should not mention the fact that 
Christ rested upon that day ; an act essential to 
its becoming his Sabbath. ^ 5. That they do not 
relate the act of taking the blessing of God from 
the seventh day, and placing it upon the first ; 
and indeed that they do not mention any act 
whatever of blessino- and hallowinof the day. 6. 
That they omit to mention anything that Christ 
did TO the first day ; and that they even neglect 
to inform us that Christ so much as took up the 
first day of the vreek into his lips ! 7. That 
they give no precept in support of first-day ob- 
servance, nor do they contain a hint of the man- 
ner in which the first day of the week can be en- 
forced by the autliority of the fourth command- 

Should it be asserted, however, from the words 
of John, that the disciples were on this occasion 
convened for the purpose of honoring the day of 
the resurrection, and that Jesus sanctioned this 
act by meeting with them, thus accomplishing 
the change of the Sabbath, it is sufiicient to cite 
in reply the words of Mark in which the same 
interview is narrated : — 

'' Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at 

See the (.li^Mn of the ancient Sabbath in Gen. 2 :l-3. 


meat, and ui)braided them with their unbelief and liard- 
ness of heart, because they believed not them which had 
seen him after he was risen. "^ 

This testimony of Mark sliows that the infer- 
ence so often drawn from the words of John is 
utterly unfounded. 1. The disciples were assem- 
bled for the purpose of eating supper. 2. Jesus 
came into their midst and upbraided them for 
their unbelief respecting his resurrection. 

The Scriptures declare that "with God ail 
things are possible ;' yet this statement is limited 
by the declaration that God cannot lie.' Does 
tlie change of the Sabbath pertain to those things 
that are possible with God, or is it excluded by 
that important limitation, God cannot lie I The 
Law-giver is the God of truth, and his law is the 
truth. ^ Whether it would still remain the truth 
if changed to something else, and v/hether the 
Law-giver would still continue to be tlie God of 
truth after he had thus changed it, remains to be 
seen. The fourth commandment, whicli is affirmed 
to have been changed, is thus expressed : — 

" Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy 

-The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. . . 
.... For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, 
the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventli 
day ; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and 
haUowed it." 

If now we insert " first day " in place of the 
seventh, we shall brmg the matter to a test : — 

" Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy 

The first day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God 

1 Mark 16 : 14. That this iDterview^vas certainly the same with 
that in John 2o : 19, will be seen from a careful examination of 
Luke 24. 

2 Matt. 19:2G; Titus 1:2. sisa. Go :1G; Ps. 119 : 142, 151. 


For in six clays the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, 
and all that in them is, and rested the first day, where- 
fore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." 

This cliano-es tlie truth of God into a lie ;^ for 
it is false that God rested upon the first da.y of 
the week and blessed and hallowed it. Nor is it 
possible to change the rest-day of the Creator 
from that day on which he rested to one of the 
six days on which he did not rest.^ To change 
a part of the commandment, and to leave the 
rest unchanged, will not therefore answer, as the 
truth which is left is still sufficient to expose the 
falsehood which is inserted. A more radical 
change is needed, like the following : — 

"Remember the Christian Sabbath, to keep it holy. 
The first day is the Sabbath of the Lord Jesus Christ. 
For on tliat day he arose from the dead ; wherefore he 
blessed the first day of the week, and hallowed it." 

After such a change, no part of the original 
Sabbatic institution remains. Not only is the 
rest-day of the Lord left out, but even the reasons 
on which the fourth commandment is based are 
of necessity omitted also. But does such an edi- 
tion of the fourth commandment as this exist ? 
Not in the Bible, certainly. Is it true that such 
titles as these are applied to the first day ? Never, 
in the Holy Scriptures. Did the Law-giver bless 
and hallow that day ? Most assuredly not. He 
did not even take the name of it into his lips. 
Such a change of the fourth commandment on 
the part of the God of truth is impossible ; for it 

1 Rom. 1 : 25. 

'■^It is just as easv to change the crncifixion-duy from that day 
of the week on which Christ was cruciHed, to one of the six days 
on which he was not, as to change the rest-day of tlie Creator 
from tliat day of the week on which he rested, to one of the six 
days on which he wrought in the work of creation. 


not merely afiirms that which is false and denies 
that which is true, but it turns the truth of God 
itself into a lie. It is simply the act of setting- 
up a rival to the Sabbath of the Lord, which, 
having neither sacredness nor authority of its 
own, has contrived to absorb that of the Bible 
Sabbath itself. Such is the foundation of the 
first-day Sabbath. The texts which are employed 
in rearing the institution upon this foundation 
will be noticed in their proper order and place. 
Several of these texts properly pertain to this 
chapter : — 

" And after eight days again his disciples were within, 
and Thomas with them ; then came Jesus, the doors be- 
ing shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto 

It is not asserted tliat on this occasion our Lord 
hallowed the first day of the week ; for that act 
is affirmed to date from the resurrection itself on 
the authority of the texts already quoted. But 
the sacredness of the first day being assumed as 
the foundation, this text furnishes the first stone 
for the superstructure ; the first pillar in the first- 
day temple. The argument drawn from it may 
be thus stated : Jesus selected this day as the one 
in which to manifest himself to his disciples ; and 
by this act strongly attested his regard for the 
day. But it is no small defect in this argument 
that his next meetinor with them was on a fisliincr 
occasion,^ and his la^st and most important mani- 
festation, when he ascended into Heaven, was 
upon Thursda}^^ The act of the Saviour in meet- 
ing with his disciples must therefore be yielded 

i.John20:26, 2 John 21. 

3 Acts 1:3. Foi'ty days from the day of the resurrection woukl 
expire on Thursday. 


as insufficient of itself to show that any day is 
sacred ; for it would otherwise prove the sacred- 
ness of several of the working days. But a still 
more serious defect in this argument is found in 
the fact that this meeting of Jesus with his dis- 
ciples does not appear to have been upon the first 
day of the week. It was " after eight days " from 
the previous meeting of Jesus and the disciples, 
which, coming at the very close of the resurrec- 
tion day, could not but have extended into the 
second day of the week.^ "After eight days" 
from this meeting, if made to signify only one 
week, necessarily carries us to the second day of 
the week. But a different expression is used by 
the Spirit of inspiration when simply one week 
is intended. " After seven days " is the chosen 
term of the Holy Spirit when designating just 
one week. ^ "After eight days" most naturally 
implies the ninth or tenth day f but allowing it 
to mean the eighth day, it fails to prove that this 
appearance of the Saviour was upon the first day 

1 When the resurrection day was "far spent," the Saviour and 
two of the disciples drew near to Emmaus, a villaj^e seven and a 
half miles from Jerusalem. They constrained him to go in with 
them to tarry for the niojht. While they were eating supper they 
discovered that it was Jesus, when he vanished from their sight. 
Then they arose and returned to Jerusalem ; and after their ar- 
ji'ival, the first meeting of Jesus with the eleven took place. It 
could not therefore have lacked but little of sunset, which closed 
the day, if not actually upon the second day, when Jesus came 
into their midst. Luke 'J4. In the latter case, the expression, 
"the same day at evening being the first day of the week," would 
find an exact parallel in meaning, in the expression, " in the ninth 
day of the month at even," which actually signifies the evening 
with which the tenth day of the seventh month commences. Lev. 

2 Those who were to come before God from Sabbath to Sabbatlx 
to minister in his tem])le, we)'e said to come "after seven days." 
1 Chron. 9:25; 2 Kings 11:5. 

3 "After six days," instead of being the sixth day, was about 
eight days after. iMatt. 17:1; -Mark '.1:2; Luke '.t:2S. 


of the week. To sum up tlie argument : The 
first meeting of Jesus with his disciples in the 
evening at the close of the first day of the week 
was mainly if not wholly upon the second day 
of the week ;^ the second meeting could not have 
been earlier in the week than the second or third 
day, and the day seems to have been selected 
simply because that Thomas was present; the 
third meeting was upon a fishing occasion ; and 
the fourth, was upon Thursday, when he ascended 
into Heaven. The argument for first-day sacred- 
ness drawn from this text is eminently fitted to 
the foundation of that sacredness already exam- 
ined ; and the institution of the first-day Sab- 
bath itself, unless formed of more substantial 
frame-work than enters into its foundation, is at 
best only a castle in the air. 

The text which next enters into the fabric of 
first-day sacredness is the following : — 

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they 
were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly 
there came a sound from heaven as of a rusliing mighty 
wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. "- 

This text is supposed to contribute an impor- 
tant pillar for the first-day temple. On this wise 
it is furnished : The disciples were convened on 
this occasion to celebrate the first-day Sabbatli, 
and the Holy Spirit was poured out at that time 
in honor of that day. To this deduction there 
are, however, the most serious objections. 1. That 
there is no evidence that a first-day Sabbath was 
then in existence. 2. That there is no intima- 
tion that the disciples came together on this 

iThat sunset marks the close of the day, see the close of chap- 
ter viii. 2 Acts 2: 1 ,2. 


occasion for its celebration. 8. Nor that the 
Holy Spirit was then poured out in honor of the 
first day of the week. 4. That from the ascen- 
sion of Jesus until the day of the Spirit's out- 
pouring, the disciples had continued in prayer 
and supplication, so that their being conv^ened on 
this day was nothing materially different from 
what had been the case for the past ten or more 
days.^ 5. That had the sacred writer designed 
to show that a certain day of the week was hon- 
ored by the events narrated, he would doubtless 
have stated that fact, and named that day. 6. 
That Luke was so far from naming the clay of 
the week that it is even now a disputed point ; 
eminent first-day authors^ even asserting that 
the day of Pentecost that year came upon the 
seventh day. 7. That the one great event which 
the Holy Spirit designed to mark was the anti- 
type of the feast of Pentecost; the clay of the 
week on which that should occur being wholly 
immaterial. How widely, therefore, do those err 
who reverse this order, making the day of the 
week, which the Holy Spirit has not even named, 
but which they assume to be the first day, the 
thing of chief importance, and passing in silence 
over that fact which the Holy Spirit has so care- 
fully noted, that this event took place upon the 
day of Pentecost. The conclusion to which these 
facts lead is inevitable ; viz., that the pillar fur- 
nished from this text for the first-day temple is 
like the foundation of that edifice, simply a thing 

1 Luke 2i: 49-53; Acts 1. 

2 Horatio B. Ilackct, I). D., Professor of Biblical Literature, in 
Newton Theological Institution, thus remarks: "It is generally 
supposed that this Pentecost, signalized by the outpouring of 
the Spirit, fell on the Jewish Sabbath, our Saturday."— C'o;/i- 
mentary on, the Original Ttxt of the Acts, pp. 50, 51. 


of the imagination, and quite worthy of a place 
beside the pillar furnished from the record of our 
Lord's second appearance to his disciples. 

A third pillar for the first-day edifice is the 
following : Redemption is greater than creation ; 
therefore the day of Christ's resurrection should 
be observed instead of the day of the Creator's 
rest. But this proposition is open to the fatal 
objection that the Bible says nothing of the kind.^ 
Who then knows that it is true ? When the 
Creator gave existence to our world, did he not 
foresee the fall of man ? And, foreseeing that fall, 
did he not entertain the purpose of redeeming 
man ? And does it not follow that the purpose 
of redemption was entertained in that of crea- 
tion ? W^ho then can affirm that redemption is 
greater than creation ? 

But as the Scriptures do not decide this point, 
let it be assumed that redemption is the greater. 
Who knows that a day should be set apart for its 
commemoration ? The Bible says nothing on the 
point. But granting that a day should be set 
apart for this purpose, what day should have the 
]:)reference ? Is it said, That day on which re- 
demption was finished ? It is not true that re- 

iln 1633, William Prynne, a prisoner in the tower of London, 
composed a work m defense of first-day observance, entitled, 
"Dissertation on the Lord's Day Sabbath." He thus acknowl- 
edges the futility of the argument under consideration: "No 
scripture . . . prefers or advanceth the work of redemption . . . 
before the Avork of creation ; both these works being very great 
and glorious in themselves ; wherefore I cannot believe the work 
of redemption, or Christ's resurrection alone, to be more excel- 
lent and glorious than the work of creation, without sufficient 
texts and Scripture grounds to prove it ; but may deny it as a 
presumptuous fancy or unsound assertion, till satisfactorily 
proved, as well as peremptorily averred without proof" — Page 
59. This is the judgment of a candid advocate of the first day as a 
Christian festival. On Acts 20:7, he will be allowed to testify 


demption is finished; tlie resurrection of the 
saints and the redemption of our earth from the 
curse are included in that work.^ But orrantinor 
that redemption should be commemorated before 
it is finished, by setting apart a day in its honor, 
the question again arises, What day shall it be ? 
The Bible is silent in reply. If the most memo- 
rable day in the history of redemption should be 
selected, undoubtedly the day of the crucifixion, 
on which the price of human redemption was paid, 
must have the preference. Which is the more 
memorable day, that on which the infinite Law- 
giver gave up his only and well-beloved Son to 
die an ignominious death for a race of rebels who 
had broken his law, or that day on which he re- 
stored that beloved Son to life ? The latter event, 
though of thrillincr interest, is the most natural 
thing in the world ; the crucifixion of the Son of 
God for sinful men may be safely pronounced the 
most wonderful event in the annals of eternity. 
The crucifixion day is therefore beyond all com- 
parison the more memorable day. And that re- 
demption itself is asserted of the crucifixion 
rather than of the resurrection is an undoubted 
fact. Thus it is written : — 

''In whom we have redemption through his blood;" 
" Christ hath redeemed iis from the cnrse of the law, be- 
ing made a curse for lis, for it is Avritten, Cursed is every 
(me that hangeth on a tree;" "Thou Avast slain, and 
hast redeemed us to God by thy blood. "- 

If, therefore, any day should be observed in 
memory of redemption, unquestionably the day 
of the crucifixion should have the preference. 
But it is needless to pursue this point further. 

Luke 21 : 28 ; Rom. 8 : 23 ; Eph. 1 : 13, U ; 4 : 
Kph. 1:7: Cal. 3: 13; Rev. f, : 9. 


Whether the day of the crucifixion or the day of 
the resurrection should be preferred is quite im- 
material. The Holy Spirit has said nothing in 
behalf of either of these days, but it has taken 
care that the event in each case should have its 
own appropriate memorial. Would you com- 
memorate the crucifixion of the Redeemer ? You 
need not change the Sabbath to the crucifixion 
day. It would be a presumptuous sin in you to 
do this. Here is the divinely appointed memorial 
of the crucifixion : — 

' ' The Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was be- 
trayed, took bread ; and when he had given thanks, he 
brake it, and said. Take, eat ; this is my body, which is 
broken for you ; this do in remembrance of me. After 
the same manner also he took the cup, when he had 
supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my 
blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance 
of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this 
cup, jQ do shew the Lord's death till he come."^ 

It is the death of the Redeemer, therefore, and 
not the day of his death that the Holy Spirit has 
thought worthy of commemoration. Would you 
also commemorate the resurrection of the Re- 
deemer ? You need not change the Sabbath of 
the Bible for that purpose. The great Law-giver 
has never authorized such an act. But an ap- 
propriate memorial of that event has been or- 
dained : — 

''Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized 
into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death ? There- 
fore we are buried with him by baptism into death ; that 
like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of 
the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of 
life. For if we have been planted together in the like- 

1 1 Cor. 11 : 23-26. 
Sabbath History. H 


ness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his 
resurrection." ^ 

To be buried in the watery grave as our Lord 
was buried in the tomb, and to be raised from the 
water to walk in newness of life, as our Lord was 
raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, 
is the divinely authorized memorial of the resur- 
rection of the Lord Jesus. And let it be ob- 
served, it is not the day of the resurrection, but 
the resurrection itself, that was thought worthy 
of commemoration. The events which lie at the 
foundation of redemption are the death, burial, 
and resurrection, of the Redeemer. Each of 
these has its appropriate memorial; while the 
days on which they severally occurred have no 
importance attached to them. It was the death 
of the Redeemer, and not the day of his death, 
that was worthy of commemoration ; and hence 
the Lord's supper was appointed for that purpose. 
It was the resurrection of the Saviour, and not 
the day of the resurrection, that was worthy of 
commemoration ; and hence buiial in baptism 
was ordained as its memorial. It is the change 


of this memorial to sprinkling that has furnished 
so plausible a plea for first-day observance in 
memory of the resurrection. 

To celebrate the work of redemption by resting 
from labor on the first day of the week after six 
days of toil, it should be true tliat our Lord ac- 
complished the work of human redemption in the 
six days prior to that of his resurrection, and tliat 
be rested on that day from the work, blessing it, 
and setting it apart for that reason. Yet not one 
of these particulars is true. Our Lord's whole 

iRom. G:3-5; Col. 2:12. 


life was devoted to this work. He rested tem- 
porarily from it indeed over the Sabbath follow- 
ing his crucifixion, but resumed the work on the 
morning of the first day of the week, which he 
has never since relinquished, and never will, 
until its perfect accomplishment in the resurrec- 
tion of the saints and the redemption of the 
purchased possession. Redemption, therefore, 
furnishes no plea for a change of the Sabbath ; 
its own memorials being quite sufficient, without 
destroying that of the great Creator. And thus 
the third pillar in the temple of first-day sacred- 
ness, like the other parts of that structure which 
have been already examined, is found to be a 
thing of the imagination only. 

A fourth pillar in this temple is taken from an 
ancient prophecy in which it is claimed that the 
Christian Sabbath was foretold : — 

"The stone wliicli the builders refused is become the 
head stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing ; it is 
marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord 
hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."^ 

This text is considered one of the strongest 
testimonies in support of the Christian Sabbath. 
Yet it is necessary to assume the very points 
that this text is supposed to prove. 1. It is 
assumed that the Saviour became the head of the 
corner by his resurrection. 2. That the day of 
his t-esurrection was made the Christian Sabbath 
in commemoration of that event. 3. And that 
this day thus ordained should be celebrated by 
abstinence from labor, and attendance upon di- 
vine worship. 

To these extraordinary assumptions it is proper 

iPs. 118 : 22-24. 


to reply : 1. There is no proof that Jesus became 
the head of the corner on the day of his resurrec- 
tion. The Scriptures do not mark the day when 
this event took place. His being made head of 
the corner has reference to his becoming the chief 
corner stone of that spiritual temple composed of 
his people ; in other words, it has reference to his 
becoming head of that living body, the saints of 
the Most High. It does not appear that he as- 
sumed this position until his ascension on high, 
where he became the chief corner stone in Zion 
above, elect and precious. ^ And hence there is 
no evidence that the first day of the week is even 
referred to in this text. 2. Nor is there the 
slightest evidence that that day or any other day 
was set apart as the Christian Sabbath in mem- 
ory of Christ's resurrection. 3. Nor can there 
well be found a more extraordinary assumption 
than that this text enjoins the Sabbatic observ- 
ance of the first day of the week ! 

This scripture has manifest reference to the 
Saviour's act of becoming the head of the New- 
Testament church ; and consequently it pertains 
to the opening of the gospel dispensation. The 
day in which the people of God rejoice, in view 
of this relation to the Redeemer, can therefore be 
understood of no one day of the week ; for they 
are commanded to "rejoice evermoke;"^ but of 
the whole period of the gospel dispensation. •Our 
Lord uses the word day in the same manner when 
he says : — 

"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day ; and 
he saw it, and was glad. " ^ 

1 Eph. 1 : 20-23 ; 2 : 20, 21 ; 1 Pet. 2 : 4-7. 

n Thcss. 5 : ir.. 3Jolin8:5C. 


To assert the existence of what is termed the 
Christian Sabbath on the ground that this text is 
the prediction of such an institution, is to furnish 
a fourth pillar for the first-day temple quite as 
substantial as those already tested. 

The seventieth week of Daniel's prophecy ex- 
tends three and a half years beyond the death of 
the Redeemer, to the commencement of the great 
work for the Gentiles. This period of seven years 
through which we have been passing is the most 
eventful period in the history of the Sabbath. It 
embraces the whole history of the Lord of the 
Sabbath as connected with that institution : His 
miracles and teaching, by which it is affirmed 
that he weakened its authority; his death, at 
which many affirm that he abrogated it ; and his 
resurrection, at which a still larger number de- 
clare that he changed it to the tirst day of the 
week. We have had the most ample evidence, 
however, that each of these positions is false ; and 
that the opening of the great work for the Gen- 
tiles witnessed the Sabbath of the fourth com- 
mandment neither weakened, abrogated, nor 




The knowledge of God preserved in the family of Abraham 
— The call of the Gentiles — The new covenant puts the 
law of God into the heart of each Christian — The new cov- 
enant has a temple in Heaven ; and an ark containing the 
great original of that law which was in the ark upon eartli 
— And before that ark a priest whose oiferiog can take 
away sin — The Old and New Testaments compared — The 
human family in all ages amenable to the law of God — 
The good olive tree shows the intimate relation between 
the church of the New Testament and the Hebrew church 
— The apostolic church observed the Sabbath — Examina- 
tion of Acts li] — The assembly of the apostles at Jerusa- 
lem — Sabbatarian origin of the church at Philippi — Of the 
church of the Thessalonians — Of the church of Corinth — 
The churches in Judea and in many cases among the Gen- 
tiles began with Sabbath-keepers — Examination of 1 Cor. 
16 : 1, 'I — Self-contradiction of Dr. Edwards — Paul at 
Troas — Examination of Rom. 14 : 1-G — Flight of the dis- 
ciples from Judea — The Sabbath of the Bible at the close 
of the first century. 

We have now traced the Sabbath through the 
})eriod of its especial connection with the family 
of Abraham. The termination of the seventy 
weeks brings us to the call of the Gentiles, and to 
their admission to equal privileges with the He- 
brew race. We have seen that with God there 
was no injustice in conferring especial blessings 
upon the Hebrews, and at the same time leaving 
the Gentiles to their own chosen ways.^ Twice 
had he given the human family, as a whole, tlie 
most ample means of grace that their age of the 

' Sec chap. lii. 


world admitted, and each time did it result in the 
almost total apostasy of mankind. Then God se- 
lected as his heritage the family of Abraham, his 
friend; and by means of that family preserved in 
the earth the knowledge of his law, his Sabbath, 
and himself, until the coming of the great Messiah. 
During his ministry, the Messiah solemnly af- 
firmed the perpetuity of his Father's law, enjoin- 
ing obedience, even to its least commandment ;^ at 
his death he broke down that middle wall of 
partition ^ by which the Hebrews had so long 
been preserved a separate people in the earth ; 
and when about to ascend into Heaven command- 
ed his disciples to go into all the world and preach 
the gospel to every creature ; teaching them to 
observe all things which he had commanded 
them.^ With the expiration of the seventieth 
week, the apostles enter upon the execution of 
this great commission to the Gentiles.* Several 
facts of deep interest should here be noticed : — 
1. The new covenant or testament dates from 
the death of the Redeemer. In accordance with 
the prediction of Jeremiah, it began with the 
Hebrews alone, and was confined exclusively to 
them until the expiration of the seventieth week. 
Then the Gentiles were admitted to a full par- 
ticipation with the Hebrews in its blessings, be- 
ing no longer aliens and foreigners, but fellow-citi- 
zens with the saints.^ God entered into covenant 
this time with his people as individuals and not 
as a nation. The promises of this covenant em- 

1 Matt. 5 : 17-19. 2 Eph. 2: 13-16 ; Col. 2 : 14-17. 

3 Matt. 28:19, 20: Mark 16: 15. 

4 Dan. 9 : 24-27 ; Acts 9 ; 10; 11; 26:12-17; Rom. 11:13. 

6 1 Cor. 11 : 25 ; Jer. 81 : 31-34 ; Ileb. 8 : 8-12 ; Dan. 9 : 27 ; Eph. 


brace two points of great interest : (1) That God 
will put his law into the hearts of his people. (2) 
That he will forgive their sins. These promises 
being made six hundred years before the birth of 
Christ, there can be no question relative to what 
was meant by the law of God. It was the law 
of God then in existence that should be put into 
the heart of each new-covenant saint. The new 
covenant, then, is based upon the perpetuity of 
the law of God ; it does not abrogate that law, 
but takes away sin, the transgression of the law, 
from the heart, and puts the law of God in its 
place. ^ The perpetuity of each precept of the 
moral law lies, therefore, at the very foundation 
of the new covenant. 

2. As the first covenant had a sanctuary, and 
within that sanctuary an ark containing the law 
of God in ten commandments, ^ and had also a 
priesthood to minister before that ark, to make 
atonement for the sins of men,^ even thus is it 
with the new covenant. Instead of the tabernacle 
erected by Moses as the pattern of the true, the 
new covenant has the greater and more perfect 
tabernacle, which the Lord pitched and not man 
— the temple of God in Heaven.^ As the gr^at 
central point in the earthly sanctuary was the 
ark containing that law Avhich man had broken, 
even thus it is with the heavenly sanctuary. 
" The temple of God was opened in Heaven, and 
there was seen in his temple the ark of his testa- 
ment." ^ Our Lord Jesus Christ as a great High 

1 Matt. 5 : 17-19 ; 1 John 3 : 4, 5 : Rom. 4: 15. 

2 Ileb. 9 : 1-7 ; Ex. 25 : 1-21 ; Deut. 10 : 4, 5; 1 Kings 8 : 9. 
3lleb., chaps. 7-10; Lev. IG. 

< Heb. 8 : 1-5 ; 9 : 23, 24. & Re v. 11 : 19. 


Priest presents his own blood before the ark of 
God's testament in the temple in Heaven. Re- 
specting this object before which he ministers, let 
the following points be noted : — 

1. The ark in the heavenly temple is not 
empty ; it contains the testament of God ; and 
hence it is the great center of the sanctuary 
above, as the ark of God's testament was the cen- 
ter of the sanctuary on earth. ^ 

2. The death of the Redeemer for the sins of 
men, and his work as High Priest before the ark 
in Heaven, have direct reference to the fact that 
within that ark is the law which mankind have 

8. As the atonement and priesthood of Christ 
have reference to the law within that ark before 
which he ministers, it follows that this law ex- 
isted and was transgressed before the Saviour 
came down to die for men. 

4. And hence, the law contained in the ark 
above is not a law which originated in the New 
Testament ; for it necessarily existed long ante- 
rior to it. 

5. If, therefore, God has revealed this law to 
mankind, that revelation must be sought in the 
Old Testament. For while the New Testament 
makes many references to that law which caused 
tlie Saviour to lay down his life for sinful men, 
and even quotes from it, it never publishes a sec- 
ond edition, but cites us to the Old Testament 
for the original code.^ 

6. It follows, therefore, that this law is revealed, 

lEx. 25:21, 22. 

2 Rom. 3:19-31; 5:8-21; 8:3,4; 13:8-10; Gal. 3:13, 14: Eph 
6:2, 3; James 2:«-12; 1 John 3:4, 5. 


and that this revelation is to be found in the Old 

7. In that volume will be found, (1) The de- 
scent of the Holy One upon Mount Sinai ; (2) 
The proclamation of his law in ten command- 
ments ; (3) The ten commandments written by 
the linger of God upon two tables of stone ; (4) 
These tables placed beneath the mercy-seat in the 
ark of the earthly sanctuary.^ 

8. That this remarkable Old -Testament law 
which was shut up in the ark of the earthly sanc- 
tuary was identical with that in the ark in Heaven, 
may be thus shown : (1) The mercy-seat which 
was placed over the ten commandments was the 
place from which pardon was expected, the great 
central point in the work of atonement;^ (2) 
The law beneath the mercy-seat was that which 
made the work of atonement necessary; (3) 
There was no atonement that could take away 
sins; it was only a shadowy or typical atone- 
ment ; (4) But there was actual sin, and hence 
a real law which man had broken; (5) There 
must therefore be an atonement that can take 
away sins ; and that real atonement must pertain 
to that law which was broken, and respecting 
which an atonement had been shadowed forth. ^ 
(6) The ten commandments are thus set forth in 
the Old Testament as tliat law which demanded 
an atonement ; while the fact is ever kept in view 
that those sacrifices there provided could not 
avail to take away sins.* (7) But the death of 
Jesus as the antitype of those sacrifices, was de- 
signed to accomplish precisely what they shad- 

lEx. 19; 20; 24:12; 31:18; Dcut. 10. ^i.ev. 16. 

^KoiD. 3:T.t 31 ; IJobn 3:4, 5. ^ Ps. 40: OS; Ileb. 10. 


owed forth, but which they could not effect, viz., 
to make atonement for the transgression of that 
law which was placed in the ark beneath the 
mercy- sea t.^ 

We are thus brought to the conclusion that the 
law of God contained in the ark in Heaven is iden- 
tical with that law which w^as contained in the 
ark upon earth ; and that both are identical with 
that law which the new covenant puts in the 
heart of each believer.^ The Old Testament, 
therefore, gives us the law of God and pronounces 
it perfect ; it also provides a typical atonement, 
but pronounces it inadequate to take away sins.^ 
Hence what was needed was not a new edition of 
the law of God ; for that which was given already 
was perfect ; but a real atonement to take away 
the miiit of the transgressor. So the New Test- 
ament responds precisely to this want, providmg 
a real atonement in the death and intercession of 
the Redeemer, but giving no new" edition of the 
law of God,^ though it fails not to cite us to the 
perfect code given long before. But although 
the New Testament does not give a new edition 
of the law of God, it does show that the Christian 
dispensation has the great original of that law in 
the sanctuary in Heaven. 

9. We have seen that the new covenant places 
the law of God in the heart of each believer, and 
that the original of that law is preserved in the 
temple in Heaven. That all mankind are amena- 
ble to the law of God, and that they ever have 
been, is clearly shown by Paul's epistle to the 
Romans. In the first chapter, he traces the ori- 

1 Heb. ; 1<\ 2 Jer. 31 : 33 ; Rom. 8 : 3, 4 ; 2 Cor. 3 : 3. 

« Ps. I'J : 7 ; James 1:55; Ps. 40. '•Kom. 5. 


gin of idolatry to the willful apostasy of the Gen- 
tiles, which took place soon after the flood. In 
the second chapter, he shows that although God 
gave them up to their own ways, and as a conse- 
quence left them without his written law, yet they 
were not left in utter darkness ; for they had by 
nature the work of the law written in their hearts ; 
and dim as Avas this light, their salvation would 
be secured by living up to it, or their ruin accom- 
plished by sinning against it. In the third chap- 
ter, he shows what advantage the family of Abra- 
ham had in beinor taken as the heritacre of God, 
while all other nations were left to their own 
ways. It was that the oracles of God, the writ- 
ten law, was given them in addition to that work 
of the law written in the heart, which they had 
by nature in common with the Gentiles. He 
then shows that they were no better than the 
Gentiles, because that both classes were trans- 
gressors of the law. This he proves by quota- 
tions from the Old Testament. Then he shows 
that the law of God has jurisdiction over all 
mankind : — 

' ' Now we know that what things soever the law saith, 
it saith to them who are under the law, tliat every mouth 
may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty be- 
fore God."^ 

He then shows that the law cannot save the 
guilty, but must condemn them, and that justly. 
Next, he reveals the great fact that redemption 
through the death of Jesus is the only means by 
which God can justify those who seek pardon, 
and at the same time remain just himself And 
finally he exclaims : — 

iRoni. 3:19. 


' ' Do we then make void the law through faith ? God 
forbid ; yea, we establish the law."^ 

It follows, therefore, that the law of God is un- 
abolished; that the sentence of condemnation 
which it pronounces upon the guilty is as extens- 
ive as is the offer of pardon through the gospel ; 
that its work exists in the hearts of men by nat- 
ure ; from which we may conclude that man in his 
uprightness possessed it in perfection, as is fur- 
ther proved by the fact that the new covenant, 
after delivering men from the condemnation of 
the law of God, puts that law perfectly into their 
hearts. From all of which it follows that the 
law of God is the great standard by which sin is 
shown," and hence the rule of life, by which all 
mankind, both Jews and Gentiles, should walk. 

That the church in the present dispensation is 
really a continuation of the ancient Hebrew church, 
is shown by the illustration of the good olive tree. 
That ancient church was God's olive tree, and that 
olive tree has never been destroyed.^ Because of 
unbelief, some of its branches were broken off; 
but the proclamation of the gospel to the Gentiles 
does not create a new olive tree ; it only grafts 
into the good olive tree such of the Gentiles as 
believe ; gi\^ng them a place among the original 
branches, that with them they may partake of its 
root and fatness. This olive tree must date from 
the call of Abraham after the apostasy of the 
Gentiles; its trunk representing the patriarchs, 
beginning with the father of the faithful;^ its 
branches, the Hebrew people. The ingrafting of 
the wild olive into the place of those branches 

iRom. 3:31. 2 Rom. 3:20; lJobu3:4, 5; 2:1, 2. 

3Jer.ll:lt3; Rom. 11 :17-24. iRom. 4:16-18; Gal. 3:7-9. 


which were broken off, represents the admission 
of the Gentiles to equal privileges with the He- 
brews after the expiration of the seventy weeks. 
The Old-Testament church, the original olive tree, 
was a kingdom of priests and an holy nation ; the 
New-Testament church, the olive tree after the 
ingrafting of the Gentiles, is described in the same 
terms. ^ 

When God gave up the Gentiles to apostasy 
before the call of Abraham, he confounded their 
language, that they should not understand one 
another, and thus scattered them abroad upon 
the face of the earth. Standing over against 
this is the gift of tongues on the day of Pentecost, 
preparatory to the call of the Gentiles, and their 
ingrafting into the good olive tree. ^ 

We have followed the Sabbath to the call of the 
Gentiles, and the opening events of the gospel 
dispensation. We find the law of God, of which 
the Sabbath is a part, to be that which made our 
Lord's death as an atoning sacrifice necessary ; 
and that the great original of that law is in the 
ark above, before which our Lord ministers as high 
priest ; while a copy of that law is by the new 
covenant written within the heart of each believer. 
It is seen, therefore, that the law of God is more 
intimately connected with the people of God since 
the death of the Redeemer than before that event. 

That the apostolic church did sacredly regard 
the Sabbath, as well as all the other precepts of 
the moral law, admits of no doubt. The fact is 
proved, not merely because the early Christians 
were not accused of its violation by their most 
inveterate enemies ; nor wholly by the fact that 

'Ex. 19 : 5, 6; 1 Pet. 2:9, 10. ••'aen. 11 : 1-9 ; Acts 2 :l-n. 


they held sin to be the transgression of the law, 
and that the law was the great standard by 
which sin is shown, and that by which sin be- 
comes exceeding sinful.^ These points are cer- 
tainly very decisive evidence that the apostolic 
church did keep the fourth commandment. The 
testimony of James relative to the ten command- 
ments, that he who violates one of them becomes 
guilty of all, is yet another strong evidence that 
the primitive church did sacredly regard the 
whole law of God. ^ But besides these facts we 
have a peculiar guaranty that the Sabbath of the 
Lord was not forgotten by the apostolic church. 
The prayer which our Lord taught his disciples, 
that their flight from Judea should not be upon 
the Sabbath was, as we have seen, designed to 
impress its sacredness deeply upon their minds, 
and could not but have secured that result. ^ In 
the history of the primitive church we have 
several important references to the Sabbath. 
The first of these is as follows : — 

" Bat when tliey departed from Perga, they came to 
Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the 
Sabbath day, and sat down." * 

By invitation of the rulers of the synagogue, 
Paul delivered an extended address, proving that 
Jesus was the Christ. In the course of these re- 
marks he used the following language : — 

' ' For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, 
because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the 
prophets which are read every Sabbath day, they have 
fulfilled them in condemning him."^ 

When Paul's discourse was concluded, Ave 
read : — 

1 Rom. 7 : 12, 13. 2 James 2 : 8-12. » See chapter x. 

4 Acts 13:14. 5 Verse 27. 


" And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, 
the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached 
to them the next Sabbath. ^ Now when the congregation 
was broken up, many of the Jews and religious fjroselytes 
followed Paul and Barnabas : who speaking to them, per- 
suaded them to continue in the grace of God. And the 
next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to 
hear the word of God," 

These texts show, 1. That by the term Sab- 
bath in the book of Acts is meant that day on 
which the Jewish people assembled in the syna- 
gogue to listen to the voices of the prophets. 2. 
That as this discourse was fourteen years after 
the resurrection of Christ, and the record of it by 
Luke was some thirty years after that event, it 
follows that the alleged change of the Sabbath 
at the resurrection of Christ had not, even after 
many years, come to the knowledge of either 
Luke or Paul. 3. That here was a remarkable 
opportunity to mention the change of the Sab- 
bath, had it been true that the Sabbath had 
been changed in honor of Christ's resurrec- 
tion. For when Paul was asked to preach the 
same words the next Sabbath, he might have 
answered that the following day was now the 
proper day for divine v/orship. And Luke, in 
placing this incident upon record, could not well 
avoid the mention of this new day, had it been 
true that another day had become the Sabbath of 

»Dr. Bloomfield has the following note on this text : *' The 
words, elc ro /xeTafu aaftiS., are by many commentators sup- 
posed to mean 'on some intermediate week-day.' But that 
is refuted by verse 44, and the sense expressed in our com- 
mon version is, no doubt, the true one. It is adopted by the 
best recent commentators, and confirmed by the ancient ver- 
sions." Greek Testament with English notes, vol. i. p. 521. 
And Prof. Hackct has a similar note. — Commentary on Acts, 
p. 238. - Verses 42-44. 


the Lord. 4. That as this second meeting per- 
tained ahnost wholly to Gentiles, it cannot be 
said in this case that Paul preached upon the 
Sabbath out of regard to the Jews. On the 
contrary, the narrative strongly indicates Paul's 
regard for the Sabbath as the proper day for di- 
vine worship. 5. Nor can it be denied that the 
Sabbath was well understood by the Gentiles in 
this city, and that they had some degree of re- 
gard for it, a fact which will be corroborated by 
other texts. 

Several years after these things, the apostles 
assembled at Jerusalem to consider the question 
of circumcision."^ "Certain men which came 
down from Judea," finding the Gentiles uncir- 
cumcised, had "taught the brethren, and said, 
Except ye be circumcised after the manner of 
Moses ye cannot be saved.' Had they found the 
Gentiles neglecting the Sabbath, unquestionably 
this would have first called out their rebuke. It 
is indeed worthy of notice that no dispute at this 
time existed in the church relative to the observ- 
ance of the Sabbath ; for none was brought before 
this apostolic assembly. Yet had it been true 
that the change of the Sabbath was then advo- 
cated, or that Paul had taught the Gentiles to 
neglect the Sabbath, without doubt those who 
brought up the question of circumcision would 
have urged that of the Sabbath with even greater 
earnestness. That the law of Moses, the observ- 
ance of which was under discussion in this as- 
sembly, is not the ten commandments, is evident 
from several decisive facts. 1. Because that 
Peter calls the code under consideration a yoke 



which neither their fathers nor themselves were 
able to bear. But James expressly calls that 
royal law, which, on his own showing, embodies 
the ten commandments, a law of liberty. 2. Be- 
cause that this assembly did decide against the 
authority of the law of Moses ; and yet James, 
who was a member of this body, did some years 
afterward solemnly enjoin obedience to the com- 
mandments, affirming that he who violated one 
was guilty of all. ^ 3. Because the chief feature 
in the law of Moses as here presented was cir- 
cumcision," But circumcision was not in the ten 
commandments ; and were it true that the law of 
Moses includes these commandments, circumcision 
would not in that case be a chief feature of that 
law. 4, Finally, because that the precepts still 
declared obligatory are not properly either of the 
ten commandments. These were, first, the pro- 
hibition of meats offered to idols ; second, of 
blood ; tliird, of things strangled ; and fourth, of 
fornication.-^ Each of these precepts may be 
often found in the books of Moses,* and the first 
and last ones come under the second and seventh 
commandments respectively ; but neither of these 
cover but a part of that which is forbidden in 
either commandment. It is evident, therefore, 
that the authority of the ten commandments was 
not under consideration in this assembly, and 
that the decision of that assembly had no relation 
to those precepts. For otherwise the apostles 
released the Gentiles from all obligation to eight 

1 Acta 15 : 10, 28, 20 ; James 2 : 8-12. 

2 Verses 1, 5. " Verse 29 ; 21 : 25. 
* Ex. 34 : 15, 16 ; Num. 25 : 2 ; Lev. 17 : 1\ 14 ; Uen. '.i : 4 ; L? 

3 : 17 ; (Jen. U ; Lev. 19 : 29. 


of the ten commandments, and from the greater 
prohibitions contained in the other two. 

It is evident that those greatly err who repre- 
sent the Gentiles as released from the obligation 
of the Sabbath by this assembly. The question 
did not come before the apostles on this occasion ; 
a strong proof that the Gentiles had not been 
taught to neglect the Sabbath, as they had to 
omit circumcision, which was the occasion of its 
being brought before the apostles at Jerusalem. 
Yet the Sabbath was referred to in this very 
assembly as an existing institution, and that, too, 
in connection with the Gentile Christians. Thus 
when James pronounced sentence upon the ques- 
tion, he used the following language : — 

** Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, 
which from among the Gentiles are turned to God ; but 
that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollu- 
tions of idols, and from fornication, and from things 
strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath 
in every city them that preach him, being read in the 
synagogues every Sabbath day."^ 

This last fact is given by James as a reason for 
the course proposed toward the brethren among 
the Gentiles. "For Moses of old time hath in 
every city them that preach him, being read in 
the synagogues every Sabbath day." From this 
it is apparent that the ancient custom of divine 
worsliip upon the Sabbath was not only preserved 
by the Jewish people and carried with them into 
every city of the Gentiles, but that the Gentile 
Christians did attend these meetings. Otherwise 
the reason assigned by James would lose all its 
force, as having no application to this case. That 
they did attend them strongly attests the Sabbath 

1 Acts 15: 19-21. 


as the day of divine worship with the Gentile 

That the ancient Sabbath of the Lord had nei- 
ther been abrogated nor changed prior to this 
meeting of the apostles, is strongly attested by 
the nature of the dispute here adjusted. And the 
close of their assembly beheld the Bible Sabbath 
still sacredly enthroned within the citadel of the 
fourth commandment. After this, in a vision of 
the night, Paul was called to visit Macedonia. In 
obedience to this call he came to Philippi, which 
is the chief city of that part of Macedonia. Thus 
Luke records the visit : — 

"And we were in that city abiding certain days. And 
on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, 
where prayer was wont to be made ; and we sat down, 
and spake unto the women which resorted thither. And 
a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the 
city of Thyatira, which worshiped God, heard us ; whose 
heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things 
which were spoken of Paul."^ 

This does not appear to have been a gathering 
of Jews, but of Gentiles, who, like Cornelius, were 
worshipers of the true God. Thus it is seen that 
the church of the Philippians originated with a 
pious assembly of Sabbath -keeping Gentiles. And 
it is likely that Lydia and those employed by her 
in business, who were evidently observers of the 
Sabbath, were the means of introducing the gos- 
pel into their own city of Thyatira. 

*' Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and 
Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a syna- 
gogue of the Jews. And Paul, as his manner was, '^ went 

lActs 10:12-14. 

2 Paul's manner is exemplified by the following texts, in all of 
whicli it would appear that the meetings in question were upon 
theSabhatli. Acts 13:.".; 14:1; 17:10, 'l7; \-<:\'.\; l;i:8. 


in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them 
out of the Scriptures. . . , And some of them be- 
lieved, and consorted with Paul and Silas ; and of the de- 
vout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women 
not a few."' 

Such was the origin of the Thessalonian church. 
That it was an assembly of Sabbath-keepers at 
its beorinninof admits of no doubt. For besides 
the few Jews who received the gospel through 
the labors of Paul, there was a great multitude 
of devout Greeks ; that is, of Gentiles who had 
united themselves with the Jews in the worship 
of God upon the Sabbath. We have a strong 
, proof of the fact that they continued to observe 
the Sabbath after their reception of the gospel in 
the following words of Paul addressed to them as 
a church of Christ : — 

"For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of 
God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus."- 

The churches in Judea, as we have seen, were 
observers of the Sabbath of the Lord. The first 
Thessalonian converts, before they received the 
gospel, were Sabbath-keepers, and when they 
becam.e a Christian church they adopted the 
churches in Judea as their proper examples. 
And this church was adopted as an example by 
the churches of Macedonia and Achaia. In this 
number were included the churches of Philippi 
and of Corinth. Thus writes Paul : — 

" And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, hav- 
ing received the word in much affliction, with joy of the 
Holy Ghost ; so that ye were ensampl^s to all that believe 
in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded otit 
the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, 

1 Acts 17 : 1-4. 2 1 Thess. 2 : 14. 


but also in every place your faitli to God ward is spread 

After these things, Paul came to Corinth. Here, 
he first found Aquila and Priscilla. 

' ' And because he was of the same craft, he abode with 
them and wrought ; for by their occupation they were tent- 
makers. And he reasoned in the synagogue eveiy Sab- 
bath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks, "- 

At this place also Paul found Gentiles as well 
as Jews in attendance upon the worship of God 
on the Sabbath. The first members of the church 
at Corinth were therefore observers of the Sab- 
bath at the time when they received the gospel ; 
and, as we have seen, they adopted as their pat- 
tern the Sabbath-keeping churcli of Thessalonica, 
who in turn patterned after the churches in Judea. 

The first churches were founded in the land of 
Judea. All their members liad from childhood 
been familiar with the law of God, and well un- 
derstood the precept, "Remember the Sabbath 
day, to keep it holy." Besides this precept, all 
these churches had a peculiar memento of the Sab- 
bath. They knew from our Lord himself that 
the time was coming when they must all sud- 
denly flee from that land. And in view of this 
fact, they were to pray that the moment of their 
sudden flight might not be upon the Sabbath ; a 
prayer which was designed, as we have seen, to 
preserve the sacredness of the Sabbath. That 
the churches in Judea were composed of Sab- 
bath-keeping members, admits therefore of no 

Of the churches founded outside the land of 
Judea, whose origin is given in the book of Acts, 

■IThcss. 1:7. s. lAft.sls:;;, 4. 


nearly all began with Jewish converts. These 
were Sabbath-keepers when they received the 
gospel. Among these, the Gentile converts were 
engrafted. And it is worthy of notice that in a 
large number of cases, those Gentiles are termed 
" devout Greeks," " religious proselytes," persons 
that '' worshiped God," that feared God and that 
"prayed to God alway."^ These Gentiles, at the 
time of their conversion to the gospel, were, as we 
have seen, worshipers of God upon the Sabbath 
with the Jewish people. When James had pro- 
posed the kind of letter that should be addressed 
by the apostles to the Gentile converts, he as- 
signed a reason for its adoption, the force of which 
can now be appreciated: "For Moses," said he, 
"of old time hath in every city them that preach 
him, being read in the synagogue every Sabbath 
day." The Sabbatarian character of the apostolic 
churches is thus clearly shown. 

In a letter addressed to the Corinthians, about 
five years after they had received the gospel, Paul 
is supposed to contribute a fifth pillar to the first- 
day temple. Thus he wrote them : — 

"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I 
have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do 
ye. Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you 
lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that 
there be no gatherings when I come."" 

From this text it is argued in behalf of the 
first-day Sabbath, 1. That this was a public col- 
lection. 2. That hence the first day of the week 
was the day of public worship in the churches of 
Corinth and Galatia. 3. And therefore that the 

lAets 10:2, i, 7. 22, oO-Go; 13:40; 14:1; 16:13-15; 17:1, 
10-12. 2 1 Cur. 10:1, 2. 

176 iiiSToiiY ov TIM-: sA];i5A'ri[. 

Sabbath had been changed to that day. Thus 
the change of the Sabbath is inferred from the 
public assemblies for divine worship on the first 
day at Corinth and Galatia ; and the existence of 
these assemblies on that day is inferred from the 
words of Paul, " Upon the first da}^ of the week, 
let every one of you lay hij hvni in store." 

What, then, do these words ordain ? But one 
answer can be returned : They ordain precisely 
the reverse of a public collection. Each one 
should lay by himself on each first day of the 
week according as God had prospered him, that 
when Paul should arrive, they might have their 
bounty ready. Mr. J. W. Morton, late Presby- 
terian missionary to Hayti, bears the following 
testimony: — 

"The whole question turns upon the meaning of the 
expression, 'by him;' and I marvel greatly how you can 
imagine that it means ' in the collection box of the con- 
gregation.' Greenfield, in his Lexicon, translates the 
Greek term, ' With one's self, i. e., at home.' Two Latin 
versions, the Vulgate and that of Castellio, render it, 
' cqmd se,' with one's self; at home. Three French 
translations, those of Martin, Osterwald, and De Sacy, 
^ chez soi,' a.t his own house; at home. The German of 
Luther, ' hei sich selhst,' by himself ; at home. The Dutch, 
'by hemselveu;' same as the German. The Italian of 
Diodati, *■ appresso di sc,' in his own presence; at home. 
The Spanish of Felippe Scio, 'en m casa,' in his own 
house. The Portugese of Ferreira, '2^^^'^ i^'.so, ' with him- 
self. The Swedish, ' mtr sig self,' near himself."^ 

Dr. Bloomfield thus comments on the original : 
''Trap eavTu, 'by him.' French, clicz lid, 'at 
home.' " ^ 

The Douay Bible reads : " Let every one of you 

1 Vindication of the True Sabbath, Battle Creek ed., pp. 51, 52. 
'Greek Testament with English Notes, vol. ii. p. 173. 


put Pvpart with himself." Mr. Sawyer thus trans- 
lates : " Let each one of you lay aside by himself." 
Theodore Beza's Latin version has it : " Apud s<?/' 
i €., at home. The Syriac reads thus : " Let ev- 
ery one of you lay aside and preserve at home." 
It is true that aii eminent first-day writer, 
Justin Edwards, D. D., in a labored effort to prove 
the chanore of the Sabbath, brinors forward this 
text to show that Sunday was the day of relig- 
ious worship with the early church. Thus he 
says :— 

'' This laying by in store was not laying by at home ; 
for that would not prevent gatherings when he should 
come." ^ 

Such is his language as a theologian upon 
whom has fallen the difficult task of proving the 
change of the Sabbath by the authority of the 
Scriptures. But in his Notes on the New Testa- 
ment, in which he feels at liberty to speak the 
truth, he thus squarely contradicts his own 
language already quoted. Thus he comments on 
this text : — 

"Lay by him in store; at home. That there be no 
gatherings ; that their gifts might be ready when the 
apostle should come."- 

Thus even Dr. Edwards confesses that the idea 
of a public collection is not found in this scripture. 
On the contrary, it appears that each individual, 
in obedience to this precept, would, at the opening 
of each new week, be found at home laying aside 
something for the cause of God, according as his 
worldly affairs would warrant. The change of 
the Sabbath, as proved by this text, rests wholly 

1 Sabbath Manual of the American Tract Society, p. 116. 

2 Family Testament of the American Tract Society, p. 280. 


upon an idea which Dr. Edwards confesses is not 
found in it. We have seen that the church at 
Corinth was a Sabbath-keeping church. It is 
evident that the chancre of the Sabbath could 


never have been suggested to them by this text. 

This is the only scripture in which Paul even 
mentions the first da}^ of the week. It was 
written nearly thirty years after the alleged 
change of the Sabbath. Yet Paul omits all titles 
of sacredness, simply designating it as first day of 
the week ; a name to which it was entitled as 
one of " the six working days." ^ It is also worthy 
of notice that this is the only precept in the Bible 
in which the first day is even named ; and that 
this precept says nothing relative to the sacred- 
ness of the day to which it pertains ; even the 
duty which it enjoins being more appropriate to 
a secular than to a sacred day. 

Soon after writing his first epistle to the Cor- 
inthians, Paul visited Troas. In the record of 
this visit occurs the last instance in which the 
first day of the week is mentioned in the New 
Testament: — 

''And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of 
unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five 
days ; " where we abode seven days. And upon the first 
day of the week, when the disciples came together to 
break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart 
on the morrow ; and continued his speech until midnight. 
And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where 

' Eze. 4« : 1. 

2 Prof. Racket remarks ou the length of this voyage: "The 
passage on the apostle's first journey to Europe occupied two 
days only ; see cliapter 16:11. Adverse winds or calms would be 
liable, at any season of the year, to occasion tins variation." — 
Commentary on Acts, p. 3'20. * This shows how little ground there 
is to claim that Paul broke the S:ibbath on this voyage. There 
was ample time to reach Troas befoie the h>abbalh wIumi he 
started t'roni Philip|)i, liad not pro\ iilontial causes liiudorcd. 


tliey were gathered together. And there sat in a v/indow 
a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into 
a deep sleep ; and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk 
down Avith sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and 
was taken up dead. And Paul went down, and fell on 
him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves ; 
for his life is in him. When he therefore was come up 
again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a 
long while, even till break of day, so he departed. And 
they brought the young man alive, and were not a little 
comforted. And we went before to ship, and sailed unto 
Assos, there intending to take in Paul ; for so had he 
appointed, minding himself to go afoot. "^ 

This scripture is supposed to furnish a sixth 
pillar for the first-day temple. The argument 
may be concisely stated thus : This testimony 
shows that the first day of the week was appro- 
priated by the apostolic church to meetings for 
the breaking of bread in honor of Christ's resur- 
rection upon that day ; from which it is reason- 
able to conclude that this day had become the 
Christian Sabbath. 

If this proposition could be established as an un- 
doubted truth, the change of the Sabbath would 
not follow as a necessary conclusion ; it would 
even then amount only to a plausible conjecture. 
The following facts will aid us in judging of the 
truthfulness of this arOTment for the chancre of 
the Sabbath. 1. That this is the only instance 
of a religious meeting upon the first day of the 
week recorded in the New Testament. 2. That 
no stress can be laid upon the expression, ''when 
the disciples came together," as proving that 
meetings for the purpose of breaking bread were 
held on each first day of the week ; for there is 
nothini:: in the oriorinal answerinor to tlie word 

'Acts 20: (5-13. 


'" w^Lcyi ;" the Avliole phrase bemg translated from 
three words, the perfect passive participle (n't-^r/^ei-wt/, 
" being assembled," and ri^v fxa^fjron', " the disci- 
ples ;" the sacred writer simply stating the gatli- 
ering of the disciples on this occasion. ^ 3. That 
the ordinance of breaking bread was not appoint- 
ed to commemorate the resurrection of Christ, 
but to keep in memory his death upon the cross. ^ 
The act of breaking bread therefore upon the first 
day of the week, is not a commemoration of 
Christ's resurrection. 4. That as the breaking of 
bread commemorates our Lord's crucifixion, and 
was instituted on the evening with which the 
crucifixion day began, on which occasion Jesus 
himself and all the apostles were present, ^ it is 
evident that the day of the crucifixion presents 
greater claims to the celebration of this ordinance 
than does the day of the resurrection. 5. But as 
our Lord designated no day for this ordinance, 
and as the apostolic church at Jerusalem are re- 
corded to have celebrated it daily, ^ it is evidently 
presumption to argue the change of the Sabbath 
from a single instance of its celebration upon the 
first day of the week. G. That this instance of 
breaking bread upon first- day, was with evident 
reference to the immediate and final departure of 
Paul. 7. For it is a remarkable fact that this, 
the only instance of a religious meeting on the 
first day recorded in the New Testament, was a 
night meeting. This is proved by the fact tliat 
many lights were burning in that assembly, and 
tliat Paul preached till midnight. 8. And from 
this fact follows the important consequence that 

1 Thus Prof. Whiting renders the phrase : " The disciples being 
assembled." And Sawver has it : ** We being assembled." 

2 1 Cor. 11:23-2(3. ' ^ Matt. 26. ■» Acts 2:42-40. 


this first-day meeting was upon Saturday night. ^ 
For the days of the week being reckoned from 
evening to evening, and evening being at sunset, ^ 
it is seen that the first day of the v/eek begins 

iThis fact has been acknowledged by many first-day comment- 
ators. Thus Prof. Hacket comments upon this text : '"The Jews 
reckoned the day from evening to morning, and on that principle 
the evening of the first dav of the week would be our Saturday 
evening. If Luke reckoned so here, as many commentators sup- 
pose, the apostle then waited for the expiration of the Jewish 
Sabbath, and held his last religious service with the brethren at 
Troas, at the beginning of the Christian Sabbath, i. e., on Satur- 
day evening, and consequently resumed his journey on Sunday 
morning." — Commerdary on Acts, pp. 3-JO, 380. But he en- 
deavors to shield the first-day Sabbath from this fatal admission 
by suggesting that Luke probably reckoned time according to the 
pagan method, rather than by "that which is ordained in the 
Scriptures ! 

Kitto, in noting the fact that this was an evening meeting, 
speaks thus : " It has from this last circumstance been inferred 
that the assembly commenced after sunset on the Sabbath, at 
which hour the first day of the week had commenced, according 
to the Jewish reckoning [Jahn's Bibl. Antiq., sect. SOS], which would 
hardly agree with the idea of a commemoration of the resurrec- 
tion." — (Jlyclopedia of Biblical Literature, article, Lord's day. 

And Prynne, whose testimony relative to redemption as an 
argument for the change of the Sabbath has been already quoted, 
thus states this point: "Because the text saith there were 
many lights in the upper room where they were gathered to- 
gether, and that Paul preached from the time of their coming togeth- 
er till midnight, . . . this meeting of the disciples at Troas, and 
Paul's preaching to them, began at evening. The sole doubt will 
be what evening this was. . . . For my own part I conceive clear- 
ly that it was upon Saturday night, as we falsely call it, and not 

the coming Sunday night Because St. Luke records that 

it was upon the first day of the week when this meeting was . . . 
therefore it must needs be on the Saturday, not on our Sunday 
evening, since the Sunday evening in St. Luke's and the Scripture 
account was no part of the first, but of the second day ; the day 
ever beginning and ending at evening." 

Prynne notices the objection drawn from the phrase, "ready to 
depart on the morrow," as indicating that this departure was not 
on the same day of the week with his night meeting. The sttb- 
stance of his answer is this : If the fact be kept in mind that the 
days of the week are reckoned from evening to evening, the fol- 
lowing texts, in which in the night, the morning is spoken of as 
the morrow, will show at once that another day of the week is not 
necessarily intended by the phrase in question. 1 Sam. 19 : 11 ; 
Esth. 2 :14; Zenh. 3:3; Acts 23:31, b-2..—Dis^. on LorcVs Day 
Sab., pp. 36-41,^1033. 

->('{• tlio cKUfliisiitn i.f chnii. \\\\. 


Saturday night at sunset, and ends at sunset on 
Sunday. A night meeting, therefore, upon the 
first day of the week could be only upon Satur- 
day night. 9. Paul therefore preached until 
midnight of Saturday night — for the disciples 
held a night meeting at the close of the Sabbath, 
because he was to leave in the morning — then 
being interrupted by the fall of the young man, 
he went down and healed him, then went up and 
attended to the breaking of bread ; and at break 
of day, on Sunday morning, he departed. 10. 
Thus are we furnished with conclusive evidence 
that Paul and his companions resumed their jour- 
ney toward Jerusalem on the morning of the first 
day of the week ; they taking ship to Assos, and 
he being pleased to go on foot. This fact is an 
incidental proof of Paul's regard for the Sabbath, 
in that he waited till it was past before resuming 
his journey; and it is a positive proof that he 
knew nothing of what in modern times is called 
the Christian Sabbath. 11. This narrative was 
written by Luke at least thirty years after the 
alleged change of the Sabbath. It is worthy of 
note that Luke omits all titles of sacredness, 
simply designating the day in question as the 
first day of the week. This is in admirable 
keeping with the fact that in his gospel, when re- 
cording the very event which is said to have 
changed the Sabbath, he not only omits the 
slightest hint of that fact, but designates the day 
itself by its secular title of first day of the week, 
and at the same time designates the previous day 
as the Sabbath according to the commandment. ^ 

'Luke23:5tt: 2i :1. 


The same year that Paul visited Troas, he 
wrote as follows to the church at Rome : — 

"Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to 
doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may- 
eat all things : another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let 
not him that eateth despise him that eateth not ; and let 
not him which eateth not judge him that eateth ; for God 
hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another 
man's servant ? to his own master he standeth or falleth. 
Yea, he shall be holden up, for God is able to make him 
stand. One man esteemeth one day above another : an- 
other esteem eth every day alike. Let every man be fully 
persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, 
regardeth it unto the Lord ; and he that regardeth not 
the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that 
eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks ; 
and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and 
giveth God thanks."^ 

These words have often been quoted to show 
that the observance of the fourth commandment 
is now a matter of indifference ; each individual 
being at liberty to act his pleasure in the matter. 
So extraordinary a doctrine should be thoroughly 
tested before being adopted. For as it pleased 
God to ordain the Sabbath before the fall of man, 
and to give it a place in his code of ten command- 
ments, thus making it a part of that law to which 
the great atonement relates ; and as the Lord Je- 
sus, during his ministry, spent much time in ex- 
plaining its merciful design, and took care to pro- 
vide ao^ainst its desecration at the flio^ht of his 
people from the land of Judea, which was ten 
years in the future when these words were writ- 
ten by Paul; and as the fourth commandment 
itself is expi^essly recognized after the crucifixion 
of Christ ; if, under these circumstances, we could 

1 Kora. 14:1-P. 


suppose it to be consistent with truth that the 
Most High should abrogate the Sabbath, we cer- 
tainly should expect that abrogation to be stated 
in explicit language. Yet neither the Sabbath 
nor the fourth commandment are here named. 
That they are not referred to in this language of 
Paul, the following reasons will show : — 

1. Such a view would make the observance of 
one of the ten commandments a matter of indif- 
ference ; whereas James shows that to violate one 
of them is to transgress the whole. ^ 2. It di- 
rectly contradicts what Paul had previously writ- 
ten in this epistle ; for in treating of the law of 
ten commandments, he styles it holy, spiritual, 
just, and good; and states that sin — the trans- 
gression of the law — by the commandment be- 
comes " EXCEEDING SINFUL."- 3. Because that 
Paul in the same epistle affirms the perpetuity of 
that law which caused our Lord to lay down his 
life for sinful men f which we have seen before 
was the ten commandments. 4. Because that 
Paul in this case not only did not name the Sab- 
bath and the fourth commandment, but certainly 
was not treating of the moral law. 5. Because 
that the topic under consideration which leads 
him to speak as he docs of the days in question 
was that of eating all kinds of food, or of refrain- 
ing^ from certain thinors. 6. Because that the 
fourth commandment did not stand associated 
with precepts of such a kind, but with moral laws 
exclusively.^ 7. Because that in the ceremonial 
law, associated with the precepts concerning 
meats, was a large number of festivals, entirely 

' James 2:!^ 12. "lloni. 7:12, 13; 1 John 0:4, 5. 

U..IT1. ;;. ' Kx. 2<\ 


distinct from the Sabbath of the Lord.^ 8. Be- 
cause that the church of Rome, which began 
probably ^dth those Jews that were present from 
Rome on the day of Pentecost, had many Jewish 
members in its communion, as may be gathered 
from the epistle itself; ^ and would therefore be 
deeply interested in the decision of this question 
relative to the ceremonial la.w; the Jewish mem- 
bers feeling conscientious in observing its dis- 
tinctions, the Gentile members feeling no such 
scruples : hence the admirable counsel of Paul 
exactly meeting the case of both classes. 9. Nor 
can the expression, '•' every day," be claimed as 
decisive proof that the Sabbath of the Lord is 
included. At the very time when the Sabbath 
was formally committed to the Hebrews, just 
such expressions were used, although only the 
six working days were intended. Thus it was 
said : " The people shall go out and gather a cer- 
tain rate every day;" and the narrative says, "They 
gathered it every morning." Yet when some of 
them went out to gather on the Sabbath, God 
says, " How long refuse ye to keep my command- 
ments and my laws ?"^ The Sabbath being a 
great truth, plainly stated and many times re- 
peated, it is manifest that Paul, in the expression, 
" every day," speaks of the six working days, 
among which a distinction had existed precisely 
coeval with that respecting meats ; and that he 
manifestly excepts that day which from the be- 
ginning God had reserved unto himself Just as 
when Paul quotes and applies to Jesus the words 

' Lev. 23. These are particularly enumerated in Col. 2, as we 
have already noticed in chapter vii, and in the concluding part of 
chapter x. "- Acts 2 : 1-1 1 ; Rom 2: 17; 4:1; 7:1. 

3 Ex. 16:4, 21, 27, 2'<. 

Sabbath Tlistorv. 13 


of David, "All things are put under him," ho 
adds : " It is manifest that he is excepted which 
did put all things under him."^ 10. And lastly, 
in the words of John, " I was in the Spirit on the 
Lord's day,"^ written many years after this epis- 
tle of Paul, we have an absolute proof that in the 
gospel dispensation one day is still claimed by the 
Most High as his own.^ 

About ten years after this epistle was written, 
occurred the memorable flight of all the people of 
God that were in the land of Judea. It Avas not 
in the winter ; for it occurred just after the feast 
of tabernacles, some time in October. And it was 
not upon the Sabbath ; for Josephus, who speaks 
of the sudden withdrawal of the Roman army 
after it had, by encompassing the city, given the 
very signal for flight which our Lord promised 
his people, tells us that the Jews rushed out of 
the city in pursuit of the retreating Romans, 
which was at the very time when our Lord's in- 
junction of instant flight became imperative upon 
the disciples. Tlie historian does not intimate 
that the Jews thus pursued the Romans upon 
the Sabbath, although he carefully notes the fact 
that a few days previous to this event they did, 
in their rage, utterly forget the Sabbath and rush 

1 1 Cor. 15 : 27 ; Ps. 8. "- Rev. 1 : 10. 

3 To show that Paul regarded Sabbatic observance as dangerous. 
Gal. 4: 10, is often quoted; notwitli.standins^ the same individuals 
claim that Rom. 14 proves that it is a matter of pcvfect indiffer- 
ence ; they not seeing that this is to make Paul contradict himself. 
But if the" connection be read from verse 8 to verse 11, it will be 
seen that the Galatians before their conversion were not Jews, but 
heathen : and that these days, months, times, and years, were not 
those of the Levitical law," but those which thoy had regarded 
with superstitious reverence while heathen. Observe the stress 
which Paul lays upon the word " again," in verse 9. And how 
many that profess the religion of Christ at the present day super- 
stiticusly regard certain days as "lucky" or " unlucky days;" 
though such notions are derived only from heathen diBtinctions. 

IX Tin: DAYS 01' THE A^'^STL^:S. 187 

out to light the Romans upon that day. These 
providential circumstances in the flight of the dis- 
ciples being made dependent upon their asking 
such interposition at the hand of God, it is evi- 
dent that the disciples did not forget the prayer 
which the Saviour taught them relative to this 
event ; and that, as a consequence, the Sabbath of 
the Lord was not forgotten by them. And thus 
the Lord Jesus in his tender care for his people 
and in his watchful care in behalf of the Sabbath, 
showed that he was alike the Lord of his people 
and the Lord of the Sabbath.^ 

Twenty-six years after the destruction of Jeru- 
salem, the book of Revelation was committed to 
the beloved disciple. It bears the following 
deeply interesting date as to place and time : — 

' ' I Jolm, who also am your brother, and companion in 
tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus 
Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the 
word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Clirist. I 
was in the Spirit ox the Lord's day, and heard behind 
me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha 
and Omega, the first and the last ; and, What thou seest, 
write in a book."- 

This book is dated in the isle of Patmos, and 
upon the Lord's day. The place, the day, and 
the individual, have each a real existence, and 
not merely a symbolical or mystical one. Thus 
John, almost at the close of the first century, and 
long after those texts were written which are 
now adduced to prove that no distinction in days 
exists, shows that the Lord's day has as real an 
existence, as has the isle of Patmos, or as had 
the beloved disciple himself 

What day, then, is intended by this designa- 

> See ehaptcr x. - Rev. 1 : 9-11. 


tion ? Several answers have been returned to 
this question. 1. It is the gospel dispensation. 
2. It is the day of Judgment. 3. It is the first 
day of the week. 4. It is the' Sabbath of the 
Lord. The first answer cannot be the true one ; 
for it not only renders the day a mystical term, 
but it involves the absurdity of representing 
John as writing to Christians sixty-live years 
after the death of Christ, that the vision which 
he had just had, was seen by him in the gospel 
dispensation ; as though it were possible for them 
to be ignorant of the fact that if he had a vision 
at aU he must have it in the existing dispensation. 

Nor can the second answer be admitted as the 
truth. For while it is true that John might 
have a vision concerning the day of Judgment, 
it is impossible that he should have a vision ON 
that day when it was yet future. If it be no 
more than an absurdity to represent John as 
datinor his vision in the isle of Patmos, on the 
gospel dispensation, it becomes a positive untruth, 
if he is made to say that he was in vision at Pat- 
mos on the day of Judgment. 

The third answer, that the Lord's day is the 
first day of the week, is now almost universally 
received as the truth. The text under examina- 
tion is brought forward with an air of triumph 
as completing the temple of first-day sacredness, 
and proving beyond all doubt that that day is 
indeed the Christian Sabbath. Yet as we have 
examined this temple with peculiar carefulness, 
we have discovered that the foundation on which 
it rests is a thing of the imagination only ; and 
that the pillars by which it is supported exist 
only in the minds of those who worship at its 
shrine. It remains to be seen whether tho dome 


which is supposed to be furnished by this text is 
more real than the pillars on which it rests. 

That the first day of the week has no claim to 
the title of Lord's day, the following facts will 
show: 1. That, as this text does not define the 
terra Lord's day, we must look elsewhere in the 
Bible for the evidence that shows the first day to 
be entitled to sucli a designation. 2. That Mat- 
thew, Mark, Luke, and Paul, the otlier sacred 
writers who mention the day, use no other desig- 
nation for it than first day of the week, a name to 
which it was entitled as one of the six working 
days. Yet three of these writers mention it at 
the very time when it is said to have become the 
Lord's day; and two of them mention it also 
some thirty years after that event. 8. That 
while it is claimed that the Spirit of inspiration, 
by sim_ply leading John to use the term Lord's 
day, though he did in no wise connect the first 
day of the week therewith, did design to fix this 
as the proper title of the first day of the vreek, it 
is a remarkable fact that after John returned 
from the isle of Patmos he wrote his gospel ; ^ and 

1 Dr. Bloomfield, though himself of a diflFerent opinion, speaks 
thns of the views of others concerniug the date of John's gospel: 
" It has been the general sentiment, both of ancient and modern 
inquirers, that it was published about t/)e of the first cent: 
uryy — Greek Testament ivith English i\'otes, vol.' i. p. 328. 

Morer sajs that John "penned his gospel two years later than 
the Apocalypse, and after bis return Irom Patmos, as St. Augus- 
tine, St. Jerome, and Eusebius, affirm." — Dialogues on the Lord's 
Day, pp. 53, 54. 

The Paragraph Bible of the London Religious Tract Society, in 
itsprefacoto the book of John, speaks thus : *' According to the 
general testimony of ancient writers, John v»'rote his gospel at 
Ephesus, about the year 97." 

In support of the same view, see also Religious Encyclopedia, 
Barnes' Notes (gospels), Bible Dictionary, Cottage Bible, Domes- 
tic Bible, Mine Explored, Union Bible Dictionary, Comprehensive 
Bible, Dr. Hales, Home, Xevins, OLshauseu, «fcc. 


in that gospel he twice mentioned the first day 
of the week ; yet in each of these instances where 
it is certain that first-day is intended, no other 
designation is used than plain first day of the 
week. This is a most convincing proof that John 
did not regard the first day of the week as enti- 
tled to this name, or any other, expressive of 
sacredness. 4. What still further decides the 
point against the first day of the week is tlie fact 
that neither the Father nor the Son have ever 
claimed the first day in any higher sense than 
they liave eacli of the six days given to man for 
labor. 5. And what completes tlie chain of 
evidence against the claim of first day to this 
title is the fact that the testimony adduced by 
first-day advocates to prove that it has been 
adopted by the Most High in place of that day 
which he once claimed as his, having been exam- 
ined, is found to have no such meaning or intent. 
In setting aside the third answer, also, as not 
being in accordance with, truth, the first day of 
the week may be properly dismissed with it, as 
having no claim to our regard as a scriptural 
institution. ^ 

iThe Encyclopedia Britannica, in its article concerning the 
Sabbath, undertakes to prove that the "religious observation ol" 
the lirst day of the week is of apostolical appointment." After 
citing and commenting upon all the passages that could be urged 
in proof of the point, it makes the following candid acknowledg- 
ment: "Still, however, it must be owned that these passages are 
not sufficient to prove the apostolical mstitution of the Lord's day, 
or even the actual observation of it." 

The absence of all scriptural testimony relative to the change 
of the Sabbath, is accounted for by certain advocates of that the- 
ory, not by the frank admission that it never was cliangcd by the 
LoVd, butby quoting Jolin 21:25, assuming the change of the 
Sabbath as an undoubted truth, but that it was left out of llie 
liible lest it should make that book too large ! They think, there- 
fore, that we sliould go to Kcclesiastic:il history to Icarn;.this piirt 
of our duty ; not treeing that, ns the fourth comniandmciu^still 


That the Lord's clay is the Bible Sabbath, ad- 
mits of clear and certain proof. The argument 
stands thus : When God g-ave to man six days of 
the week for labor, he did expressly reserve unto 
himself the seventh, on which he placed his 
blessing in memory of his own act of resting 
upon that day, and thenceforward, through the 
Bible, has ever claimed it as his holy day. As he 
has never put away this sacred day and chosen 
another, the Sabbath of the Lord is still his holy 
day. These facts may be traced in the following 
scriptures. At the close of the Creator's rest, it 
is said : — 

*' And God blessed the seventli day, and sanctified it : 
because that in it he had rested from all his work which 
God created and made." ^ 

After the children of Israel had reached the 
wilderness of Sin, Moses said to them on the 
sixth day : — 

' ' To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the 
Lord." - 

In giving the ten commandments, the Law- 
giver thus stated his claim to this day : — 

"The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. 
. . . . For in six days the Lord made heaven and 
earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the 
seventh day : wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath 
day, and hallowed it." ^ 

He gives to man the six days on which himself 

stands in the Bible unrepealed and unchanged, to acknowledore 
that that change must be sustained wholly outside of the Bible, is 
to acknowledge that tirst-day observance is a tradition which 
makes void the commandment of God. The following chapters 
will, however, patiently examine the argument for first-day ob- 
servance drawn from ecclesiastical history. 

» Gen. 2 : 3. -^ Ex. 16 : 28. ^ ^ Ex. 20: 8-11. 


Jiad labored; he reserves as his own that day 
upon which he had rested from all his work. 
About eight hundred years after this, God spoke 
by Isaiah as follows : — 

'' If tliou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from 
doing thy pleasure on my holy day, . . . then shalt 
thou delight thyself in the Lord ; and I will cause thee 
to ride upon the high places of the earth," ^ 

This testimony is perfectly explicit ; the Lord's 
day is the ancient Sabbath of the Bible. The 
Lord Jesus puts forth the following claim : — 

"The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath." - 

Thus, whether it be the Father or the Son 
whose title is involved, the only day that can be 
called "the Lord's day "is the Sabbath of the 
great Creator.^ And here, at the close of the 
Bible history of the Sabbath, two facts of deep 
interest are presented: 1. That John expressly 
recognizes the existence of the Lord's day at the 
very close of the first century. 2. That it pleased 
the Lord of the Sabbath to place a signal honor 
upon his own day in that he selected it as the 
one on which to give that revelation to John, 
which himself alone had been worthy to receive 
from the Father. 

1 Isa. 58 : 13, U. - Mark 2 : 27, 28. 

3 An able opj>onent of Sabbatic observance thus speaks relative 
to the term Lord's day of Rev. 1:10: "If a current day was in- 
tended, the only day bearing this definition, in either the Old 
or New Testament, is Saturday, the seventh day of the week." — 
W. B. Taylor, i/o the ObligLitloii of the Subbatk, p. 296. 





General purity of the apostolic churches — Early decline of 
their piety — False teachers arose in the church immedi- 
ately after the apostles — The great Romish apostasy began 
before the death of Paul — An evil thing not rendered good 
by beginning in the apostolic age — How to decide between 
truth and error — Age cannot change the fables of men 
into the truth of God — Historical testimony concerning the 
early development of the great apostasy — Such an age no 
standard by which to correct the Bible — Testimony of 
Bower relative to the traditions of this age — Testimony of 
Dowling — Dr. Cumming's opinion of the authority of the 
fathers — Testimony of Adam Clarke — The church of Rome 
has corrupted the writings of the fathers — Nature of tra- 
dition illustrated — The two rules of faith which divide 
Christendom— The first-day Sabbath can only be sustained 
by adopting the rule of the Romanists. 

The book of Acts is an inspired history of the 
church. During the period which is embraced 
in its record, the apostles and their fellow-laborers 
were upon the stage of action, and under their 
watchcare the churches of Christ preserved, to a 
great extent, their purity of life and doctrine. 
These apostolic churches are thus set forth as the 
proper examples for all coming time. This book 
titly connects the narrativ^es of the four evangel- 
ists with the apostolic epistles, and thus joins 
together the whole New Testament. But when 


we leave the period embraced in this inspired 
history, and the churches which were founded 
and governed by inspired men, we enter upon 
altogether different times. There is, unfortu- 
nately, great truth in the severe language of 
Gibbon : — 

" The theologian may indulge the pleasing task of de- 
scribing religion as she descended from Heaven, arrayed 
in her native purity. A more melancholy duty is imposed 
on the historian. He must discover the inevitable mixt- 
ure of error and corruption, which she contracted in a 
long residence upon earth, among a weak and degenerate 
race of beings." ^ 

What says the bouk of Acts respecting tlie 
time immediately following the labors of Paul ? 
In addressing the elders of the Ephesian church, 
Paul said : — 

' ' For I know this, that after my departing shall griev- 
ous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 
Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking per- 
verse things, to draw away disciples after them."- 

It follows from this testimony that wo are not 
authorized to receive the teaching of any man 
simply because he lived immediately after the 
apostolic age, or even in the days of the apostles 
themselves. Grievous wolves were to enter the 
midst of the people of God, and of their own 
selves Avere men to arise, speaking perverse 
things. If it be asked how these are to be dis- 
tinguished from the true servants of God, this is 
the pro]:)er answer : Those who spoke and acted 
in accordance with the teachings of the apostles 
were men of God ; those who tauglit otherwise 

' DccJinc and Fall of the Roman Empire, chap. xv. 

- Art** 'JO: 29, oO. 


were of tliat class wlio should speak perverse 
things to draw away disciples after them. 

What say the apostolic epistles relative to this 
apostasy ? To the Thessalonians, it is written: — 

"Let no man deceive you by any means ; for tliat day 
shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and 
that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition ; who 
opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called 
God, or that is vforshiped ; so that he as God sitteth in 
the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. . . . 
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work ; only he 
who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the 
Avay. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the 
Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and 
shall destroy with the brightness of his coming," 

To Timothy, in like manner, it is said : — 

''Preach the word ; be instant in season, out of season ; 
reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doc- 
trine. For the time will come when they will not endure 
sound doctrine ; but after their own lusts shall they heap 
to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they 
shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be 
turned unto fables." - 

These texts are most explicit in predicting a 
great apostasy in the church, and in stating the 
fact that that apostasy had already commenced. 
The Romish church, the eldest in apostasy, prides 
itself upon its apostoUc character. In the lan- 
guage of Paul to the Thessalonians, already 
quoted, that great Antichristian body may in- 
deed find its claim to an origin in apostolic times 
vindicated, but its apostolic character most em- 
phatically denied. And herein is found a striking 
illustration of the fact that an evil thing is not 
rendered good by the accidental circumstance of 

12 Thcss. 2:;;, 1, T, 8. 

- 2 Tim. -1: -J 1 ; J Tot. •_' ; Jndc i ; 1 John 2: 18. 


its origiuOvting in the days of the apostles. ICv- 
ery thing, at its commencement, is either right or 
wrong. If right, it may be known by its agree- 
ment Y>^ith the divine standard. If wrong at its 
origin, it can never cease^to be such. Satan's 
great falsehood which involved our race in ruin 
has not yet become the truth, although six thou- 
sand years have elapsed since it v/as uttered. 
Think of this, ye who worship at the shrine of 
venerable erroi*. When the fables of men ob- 
tained the place of the truth of God, he was 
thereby dishonored. How, then, can he accept 
obedience to them as any part of that pure devo- 
tion which he requires at our hands ? They that 
worship God must worship him in Spirit and in 
truth. How many ages must pass over the fables 
of men before they become changed into divine 
truth ? That these predictions of the Nevv^ 
Testament respecting the great apostasy in the 
church were fully realized, the pages of ecclesias- 
tical history present ample proof. Mr. Dowling, 
in his History of Romanism, bears the following- 
testimony : — 

* ' There is scarcely anything which strikes the mind of 
the careful student of ancient ecclesiastical history with 
greater surprise than the comparatively early x^eriod at 
which many of the corruptions of Christianity, which are 
embodied in the Romish system, took their rise ; yet it is 
not to be supposed that when the first originators of many 
of these unscriptural notions and practices planted those 
germs of corruption, they anticipated or even imagined 
they would ever groAv into such a vast and hideous system 

of superstition and error, as is that of popery 

Each of the great corruptions of the latter ages took its 
rise in a manner which it would be harsh to say was de- 
serving of strong reprehension The worship 

of images, the invocation of saints, and the superstition 
of relics, were luit expansions of the natural feelings of 


veneration and affection cherished toward the memory of 
those who had suffered and died for the truth." ^ 

Robinson, author of the " History of Baptism," 
bears the following testimony : — 

" Toward tlie latter end of the second century most of 
the churches assumed a new form, the first simplicity dis- 
appeared ; and insensibly, as the old disciples retired to 
their graves, their children along with new converts, both 
Jews and Gentiles, came forward and new modeled the 

The working of the mystery of iniquity in the 
first centuries of the Christian chui'ch is thus de- 
scribed by a recent writer : — 

"During these centuries the chief corruptions of popery 
were either introduced in principle, or the seeds of them 
so effectually sown as naturally to produce those baneful 
fruits which appeared so plentifully at a later period. In 
Justin Martyr's time, within fifty years of the apostolic 
age, the cup was mixed with water, and a portion of the 
elements sent to the absent. The bread, which at first 
was sent only to the sick, was, in the time of Tertullian 
and Cyprian, carried home by the jjeople and locked up 
as a divine treasure for their private use. At this time, 
too, the ordinance of the supper was given to infants of 
the tenderest age, and vras styled the sacrifice of the body 
of Christ. The custom of praying for the dead, Tertullian 
states, was common in the second century, and became 
the universal practice of the following ages ; so that it 
came in the fourth century to be reckoned a kind of her- 
esy to deny the efficacy of it. By this time the invocation 
of saints, the superstitious use of images, of the sign of 
the cross, and of consecrated oil, were become established 
practices, and pretended miracles were confidently ad- 
duced in proof of their supposed efficacy. Thus did that 
mystery of iniquity, which Vv^as already Avorking in the 
time of the apostles, speedily after their departure, spread 
its corruptions among the professors of Christianity."" 

1 Book ii. chap. i. sect. 1. 

2 Eccl. Researches, chap. vi. p. 51, cd. 1792. 
•The Modern Sabbath Examined, pp. 123, 12i. 


Neander .s})eaks thus of the early iiitroJuctioii 
of image worshi}) : — 

"And yet, perliaps, religious images made their way 
from domestic life into the churches, as early as the end 
of the third century ; and the walls of the churches were 
painted in the same way."^ 

The early apostasy of the professed church is 
a fact which rests upon the authority of inspira- 
tion, not less than upon that of ecclesiastical his- 
tory. "The mystery of iniquity," said Paul, 
"doth already work." We are constrained to 
marvel that so large a portion of the people of 
God were so soon removed from the orrace of God 


unto another gospel. 

What shall be said of those who go to this pe- 
riod of church history, and even to later times, 
to correct their Bibles ? Paul said that men 
would rise in the very midst of the elders of the 
apostolic church, who would speak perverse 
things, and that men would turn away their ears 
from the truth, and would be turned unto fables. 
Are the traditions of this period of sufficient im- 
portance to make void God's word ? The learned 
historian of the popes, Archibald Bower, uses the 
following emphatic language : — 

" To avoid being imposed iipon, we ought to treat tra- 
dition as we do a notorious and known liar, to whom we 
give no credit, unless what he says is confirmed to us by 

some person of undoubted veracity False and 

lying traditions are of an early date, and the greatest men 
have, out of a pious credulity, suffered themselves to be 
imposed upon by them.'"" 

Mr. Dowling bears a similar testimony : — 

» Rose's Neander, p. 18i. 

2Hi?t. of t>ie Pope?, vol. i. p. 1, Phila. ed.. 1S17. 


'' '•The Bible, I say, the Bible only, is the religion of 
Protestants !' Nor is it of any account in the estimation 
of the genuine Protestant how early a doctrine originated, 
if it is not found in the Bible. He learns from the New 
Testament itself that there Avere errors in the time of the 
apostles, and that their pens were frequently employed 
in combating those errors. Hence, if a doctrine be pro- 
pounded for his acceptance, he asks, Is it to be found in 
the inspired word 1 Was it taught by the Lord Jesus 

Christ and his apostles ? More than this, we 

will add, that though Cyprian, or Jerome, or Augustine, 
or even the fathers of an earlier age, Tertullian, Ignatius, 
or Irenseus, could be plainly shown to teach the unscript- 
ural doctrines and dogmas of Popery, which, however, is 
by no means admitted, still the consistent Protestant 
woidd simply ask. Is the doctrine to be found in the Bi- 
ble ? Was it taught by Christ and his apostles ? 

He who receives a single doctrine upon the mere author- 
ity of tradition, let liim be called by what name he will, 
by so doing steps down from the Protestant rock, passes 
over the line which separates Protestantism from Popery, 
and can give no valid reason why he should not receive 
all the earlier doctrines and ceremonies of Romanism 
upon the same authority."^ 

Dr. Gumming of London thus speaks of the 
authority of the fathers of the early church : — 

"Some of these were distinguished for their genius, 
some for their eloquence, a few for their piety, and too 
many for their fanaticism and superstition. It is recorded 
by Dr. Delahogue (who was Professor in the Roman Cath- 
olic College of Maynooth), on the authority of Eusebius, 
that the fathers who were really most fitted to be the lu- 
minaries of the age in which they lived, were too busy in 
preparing their flocks for martyrdom to commit anything 
to writing ; and, therefore, by the admission of this 
Roman Catholic divine, we have not the full and fair ex- 
ponent of the views of all the fathers of the earlier cent- 
uries, but only of those who .were most ambitious of lit- 
erary distinction, and least attentive to their charges. . . 

The most devoted and pious of the fathers were 

busy teaching their flocks ; the more vain and ambitious 

» History of Romanism, book ii. chap. i. sexts. 8, 4. 


occupied tlieir time in preparing treatises. If all the 
fathers who signalized the age had committed tlieir senti- 
ments to writing, we might have had a fair representation 
of the theology of the church of the fathers ; but as only 
a few have done so (many even of their writings being 
mutilated or lost), and these not the most devoted and 
spiritually minded, I contend that it is as unjust to judge 
of the theology of the early centuries by the writings of 
the iew fathers who are its only survi^dng representatives, 
as it would be to judge of the theology of the nineteenth 
century by the sermons of Mr. Newman, the speeches of 
Dr. Candlish, or the various productions of the late Ed- 
ward Irving."^ 

Dr. Adam Clarke bears the following decisive 
testimony on the same subject : — 

' ' But of these we may safely state that there is not a 
truth in the most orthodox creed that cannot be proved 
by their authority ; nor a heresy that has disgraced the 
Romish church, that may not challenge them as its abet- 
tors. In points of doctrine, their authority is, with me, 
nothing. The word of God alone contains my creed. 
On a number of points I can go to the Greek and Latin 
fathers of the church to know what they believed; and 
what the people of their respective communions believed : 
but after all this, I must return to God's word to know 
what he would have me to believe."" 

In his life, he uses the folio win f^ stronj^ lan- 

' ' We should take heed how we quote the fathers in 
proof of the doctrines of the gospel ; because he who 
knows them best, knows that on many of those subjects 
they blow hot and cold."^ 

The following testimonies will in part explain 
the unreliable nature of the fathers. Thus Ephraim 
Pagitt testifies : — 

'' The church of Rome having been conscious of tlieir 
errors and corruptions, both in faith and manners, have 

» Lectures on Romanism, p. 203. » Commentary on Trov. 8. 
^ Autolii-»2;riinliy of Adam Clarke, Lb. 1)., p. 134. 


sundry times pretended reformations ; yet their great 
pride and infinite profit, arising from purgatory, pardons, 
and such like, hath hindered all such reformations. 
Therefore, to maintain their greatness, errors, and new 
articles of faith, 1. They have corrupted many of the an- 
cient fathers, and reprinting them, make them speak as 

they would have them 2. They have written 

many books in the names of these ancient writers, and 
forged many decrees, canons, and councils, to bear false 
witness to them,"' 

And Wm. Eeeves testifies to the same fact : — 

" The church of Rome has had all the opportunities of 
time, place, and power, to establish the kingdom of dark- 
ness; and that in coining, clipping, and washing, the 
primitive records to their own good liking, they have not 
been wanting to themselves, is notoriously evident. "- 

The traditions of the early church are consid- 
ered by many quite as reliable as the language 
of the Holy Scriptures. A single instance taken 
from the Bible will illustrate the character of 
tradition, and show the amount of reliance that 
can be placed upon it : — 

''Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom 
Jesus loved, following (which also leaned on his breast 
at supper, and said. Lord, which is he that betraj^eth 
thee?) ; Peter seeing him, saith to Jesus, Lord, and what 
shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that 
he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou 
me. Then v/ent this saying abroad among the brethren, 
that that disciple should not die ] yet Jesus said not unto 
him. He shall not die ; but, If I will that he tarry tiU. I 
come, what is that to thee?" " 

Here is the account of a tradition which act- 
ually originated in the very bosom of the apos- 
tolic church, which nevertheless handed down to 

1 Christianographj, part ii. p. 50, London, 1036. 

2 Translation of the Apologies of Justin Martyr, Tcrtullian, and 
others, vol. ii. p. 3To. "^ John 21 : 2(W2o. 

Sa'jbatli H!3torv. 1 -J 


the following generations an entire mistake. Ob- 
serve how carefully the word of God corrects this 

Two rules of faith really embrace the whole 
Christian world. One of these is the word of 
God alone ; the other is the word of God and the 
traditions of the church. Here they are : — 


' ' All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is 
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for in- 
struction in righteousness ; that the man of- God may be 
perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." ^ 


''If we would have the whole rule of Christian faith 
and practice, we must not be content with those scriptures 
which Timothy knew from his infancy, that is, with the 
Old Testament alone ; nor yet with the New Testament, 
without taking along with it the traditions of the apostles, 
and the interpretation of the church, to which the apos- 
tles delivered both the book and the true meaning of it." - 

It is certain that the first-da}^ Sabbath cannot 
be sustained by the first of these rules ; for the 
word of God says nothing respecting such an in- 
stitution. The second of these rules is necessarily 
adopted by all those who advocate the sacred- 
ness of the first day of the week. For the writ- 
ings of the fathers and the traditions of the 
church furnish all the testimony which can be 
adduced in support of that day. To adopt the 
first rule is to condemn the first-day Sabbath 
as a human institution. To adopt the second 
is virtually to acknowledge that the Roman- 
ists are right; for it is by this rule that they 

1 2 Tim. 8 : 10, 17. 

2 Note of tke Douay IJiblo on 2 Tim. n : 10, 17. 


are able to sustain tlieir unscriptural dogmas. 
Mr. W. B. Taylor, an able anti-Sabbatarian writ- 
er, states this point with great clearness : — 

" The triumph of the consistent Roman Catholic over 
all observers of Sunday, calling themselves Protestants, 

is indeed complete and unanswerable It should 

present a subject of very grave reflection to Christians of 
the reformed and evangelical denominations, to find that 
no single argument or suggestion can be offered in favor of 
Sunday observance, that will net apply with equal force 
and to its fullest extent in sustaining the various other 
' holy days ' appointed by ' the church.' " ^ 

Listen to tlie arorument of a Roman Catholic : — 

' ' The word of God commandeth the seventh day to be 
the Sabbath of our Lord, and to be kept holy : you 
[Protestants] without any precept of Scripture, change it 
to the first day of the week, only authorized by our tra- 
ditions. Divers English Puritans opj)ose against this 
point, that the observation of the first day is proved out 
of Scripture, where it is said ^ the first day of the week, ' " 
Have they not spun a fair thread in quoting these places ? 
If we should produce no better for purgatory and prayers 
for the dead, invocation of the saints, and the like, they 
might have good cause indeed to laugh us to scorn ; for 
where is it written that these were Sabbath days in which 
those meetings were kept ? Or where is it ordained they 
should be always observed ? Or, which is the sum of all, 
where is it decreed that the observation of the first day 
should abrogate or abolish the sanctifying of the seventh 
day, which God commanded everlastingly to be kept ho- 
ly ? Not one of those is exDressed in the written word 
of God." ^ 

Whoever therefore enters the lists in behalf of 
the first-day Sabbath, must of necessity do this 
— though perhaps not aware of the fact — under 
the banner of the church of Rome. 

1 Obligation of the Sabbath, pp. 254, 255. 

2 Acts 20 : 7 ; 1 Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1 : 10. 

3 A Treatise of Thirty Controversies. 



THE Sunday-lord's day not teaceable to 


General statement respecting the Ante-Nicene fathers — The 
change of the Sabbath never mentioned by one of these 
fathers — Examination of the historical argument for Sun- 
day as the Lord's day — This argument compared with 
the like argument for the Catholic festival of the Passover. 

^ The Ante-Nicene fathers are those Christian 
writers who flourished after the time of the apos- 
tles, and before the Council of Nice, A. D. 325. 
Those who govern their lives by the volume of 
Inspiration do not recognize any authority in 
these fathers to change any precept of that book, 
nor any authority in them to add any new pre- 
cepts to it. But those whose rule of life is the 
Bible as modified by tradition, regard the early 
fathers of the church as nearly or quite equal in 
authority with the inspired writers. They de- 
clare that the fathers conversed with the apos- 
tles ; or if they did not do this, they conversed 
with some who had seen some of the apostles ; 
or at least they lived within a few generations of 
the apostles, and so learned by tradition, which 

1 The writer has prepared a small work entitled, "The Com- 
plete Testimony of the Fathers of the first Three Centuries con- 
cerninj^ the Sabbath and First Day," in which, with the single 
exception of Origen, some of whose works were not at that time 
accessible, every passage in the fathers which gives their views of 
the Sabbath and first-day is presented. This pamphlet can be 
had of the publishers of the present work for fifteen cents. To 
save space in this History, a general statement of the doctrine of 
the fathers is here made with brief quotations of their words. 
But in "The Complete Testimony of the Fathers" every pas- 
sage is given in their own words, and to this little work the reader 
is referred. 

SUN day-lord's day not apostolic. 205 

involved only a few transitions from father to 
son, what was the true doctrine of the apostles. 

Thus with perfect assurance they supply the 
lack of inspired testimony in behalf of the so- 
called Christian Sabbath by plentiful quotations 
from the early fathers. What if there be no men- 
tion of the change of the Sabbath in the New 
Testament ? And what if there be no command- 
ment for resting from labor on the first day of 
the week ? Or, what if there be no method re- 
vealed in the Bible by which the first day of the 
week can be enforced by the fourth command- 
ment ? They supply these serious omissions in 
the Scriptures by testimonies which they say 
were wiitten by men who lived during the first 
three hundred years after the apostles. 

On such authority as this the multitude dare 
to chanore the Sabbath of the fourth command- 


ment. But next to the deception under which 
men fall when they are made to believe that the 
Bible may be corrected by the fathers, is the de- 
ception practiced upon them as to what the fa- 
thers actually teach. It is asserted that the fa- 
thers bear explicit testimony to the change of the 
Sabbath by Christ as a historical fact, and that 
they knew that this was so because they had 
conversed with the apostles, or with some who 
had conversed with them. It is also asserted 
that the fathers called the first day of the week 
the Christian Sabbath, and that they refrained 
from labor on that day as an act of obedience to 
the fourth commandment. 

Now it is a most remarkable fact that every 
one of these assertions is false. The people who 
trust in the fathers as their authority for depart- 


ing from God's commandment are miserably de- 
ceived as to what the fathers teach. 

1. The fathers are so far from testifying that 
the apostles told them Christ changed the Sab- 
bath, that not even one of them ever alludes to 
the idea of such a change. 

2. No one of them ever calls the first day the 
Christian Sabbath, nor indeed ever calls it a Sab- 
bath of any kind. 

3. They never represent it as a day on which 
ordinary labor was sinful ; nor do they represent 
the observance of Sunday as an act of obedience 
to the fourth commandment. 

4. The modern doctrine of the change of the 
Sabbath was therefore absolutely unknown in 
the first centuries of the Christian church. ^ 

But thouo^h no statement assertinor the chancre 
of the Sabbath can be produced from the writ- 
ings of the fathers of the first three hundred 
years, it is claimed that their testimony furnishes 
decisive proof that the first day of the week is 
the Lord's day of Rev. 1 : 10. The biblical argu- 
ment that the Lord's day is the seventh day and 
no other, because that day alone is in tlie Holy 
Scriptures claimed by the Father and the Son 
as belonging in a peculiar sense to each, is given 
in chapter eleven, and is absolutel}^ decisive. But 
this is set aside without answer, and the claim of 
the first day to this honorable distinction is sub- 
stantiated out of the fathers as follows : — 

The term Lord's day as a name for the first 
day of the week can be traced back through the 

1 Those who dispute these statements are invited to present the 
words of the fathers which modify or disprove thein. Tlie reader 
who may not have access to the writings of the fiithers is referred 
to the pamphlet already mentioned in which their complete testi- 
mony is given. 

Sunday-lord's day not apostolic. 207 

first three centuries, from the fathers who lived 
toward their close, to the ones next preceding who 
mention the first day, and so backward by suc- 
cessive steps till we come to one who lived in 
John's time, and was his disciple ; and this dis- 
ciple of John calls the first day of the week the 
Lord's day. It follows therefore that John must 
have intended the first day of the week by the 
term Lord's day, but did not define his meaning 
because it v/as familiarly known by that name in 
his time. Thus by history we prove the first day 
of the week to be the Lord's day of Eev. 1:10; 
and then by Kev. 1 : 10, we prove the first day of 
the week to be the sacred day of this dispensation; 
for the spirit of inspiration by which John wrote 
would not have called the first day by this name 
if it were only a human institution, and if the 
seventh day was still by divine appointment 
the Lord's holy day. 

This is a concise statement of the strongest ar- 
gument for first-day sacredness which can be 
drawn from ecclesiastical history. It is the argu- 
ment by which first-day writers prove Sunday to 
be the day called by John the Lord's day. This 
argument rests upon the statement that Lord's 
da}^ as a name for Sunday can be traced back to 
the disciples of John, and that it is the name by 
which that day was familiarly knovrn in John's 

But this entire statement is false. The truth 
is, no writer of the first century, and no one of 
the second, prior to A. D. 194, who is known to 
speak of the first day of the week, ever calls it 
the Lord's day ! Yet the first day is seven times 
mentioned by the sacred writers before John's 
vision upon Patmos on the Lord's day, and is 


twice mentioned by John in his gospel which lie 
wrote after his return from that island, and is 
mentioned some sixteen times by ecclesiastical 
writers of the second century prior to A. D. 194, 
and never in a single instance is it called the 
Lord's day I We give all the instances of its 
mention in the Bible. Moses, in the beginning, 
by divine inspiration, gave to the day its name, 
and though the resun^ection of Christ is said to 
have made it the Lord's day, yet every sacred 
writer w^ho mentions the day after that event 
still adheres to the plain name of first day of the 
week. Here are all the instances in which the 
inspired writers mention the day : — 

Moses, B. c. 1490. '-'The evening and the 
morning were the first day." Gen. 1:5. 

Matthew, A. D. 41. " In the end of the Sab- 
bath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of 
the week." Matt. 28 : 1. 

Paul, A. D. 57. " Upon the first day of the 
week." 1 Cor. 16 : 2. 

Luke, A. D. 60. " Now upon the first day of 
the week." Luke 24 : 1. 

Luke, A. D. 63. "And upon the first day of 
the week." Acts 20 : 7. 

Mark, A, D. {)4. "And very early in tlie moin- 
ino', the first day of the week." Mark 16:2. 
" Now when Jesus was risen early the first day 
of the week." Verse 9. 

After the resurrection of Christ, and before 
John's vision, A. D. 96, the da}^ is six thnes men- 
tioned by inspired men, and every time as plain 
first day of the w^eek. It certainly was not fa- 
miliarly known as Lord's day before the time of 
John's vision. To speak the exact truth, it was 
not called by that name at all, nor by any othei 

Sunday-lord's day not apostolic. 209 

name equivalent to that, nor is there any record 
of its being set apart by divine authority as such. 

But in the year 96, John says, " I was in the 
Spirit on the Lord's day." Eev. 1 : 10. Now it 
is evident that this must be a day which the 
Lord had set apart for himself, and which he 
claimed as his. This was ail true in the case 
of the seventh day, but was not in any respect 
true in that of the first day. He could not there- 
fore call the first day by this name, for it was not 
such. But if the Spirit of God designed at this 
point to create a new institution and to call a 
certain day the Lord's day which before had 
never been claimed by him as such, it was neces- 
sary that he should specify that new day. He 
did not define the term, which proves that he 
was not giving a sacred name to some new in- 
stitution, but was speaking of a well-known, di- 
vinely appointed day. But after John's return 
from Patmos, he wrote his gospel,^ and in that 
gospel he twice had occasion to mention the first 
day of the Aveek. Let us see whether he adheres 
to the manner of the other sacred writers, or 
whether, when we know he means the first day, 
he gives to it a sacred name. 

John, A. D. 97. " The first day of the week 
Cometh Mary Magdalene early." John 20 : 1. 
" Then the same day at evening, being the first 
day of the v/eek." Verse 19. 

These texts complete the Bible record of the 
first day of the week. They furnish conclusive 
evidence that John did not receive new lisrht in 
vision at Patmos, bidding him call the first day of 
the week the Lord's day, and when taken with 

^ See the testimony on page 189 of this work. 


all the instances preceding, they constitute a 
complete demons traction that the iirst day was 
not familiarly known as the Lord's day in John's 
time, nor indeed known at all by that name then. 
Let us now see whether Lord's day as a title for 
the first day can be traced back to John by 
means of the writings of the fathers. 

The following is a concise statement of the 
testimony by which the fathers are made to 
prove that John used the term Lord's day as a 
name for the first day of the week. A chain of 
seven successive witnesses, commencing with one 
who was the disciple of John, and extending for- 
ward through several generations, is made to con- 
nect and identify the Lord's day of John with the 
Sunday- Lord's day of a later age. Thus, Ignatius, 
the disciple of John, is made to speak familiarly of 
the first day as the Lord's day. This is directly con- 
necting the fathers and the apostles. Then the 
epistle of Pliny, A. D. 104, in connection with the 
Acts of the Martyrs, is adduced to prove that the 
martyrs in his time and forward were tested as 
to their observance of Sunday, the question be- 
ing, " Have you kept the Lord's day ?" Next, Jus- 
tin Martyr, A. D. lio, is made to speak of Sunday 
as the Lord's day. After this, Theophilus of An- 
tioch, A. D. 168, is brought forward to bear a pow- 
erful testimony to the Sunday-Lord's day. Then 
Dionysius of Corinth, A. D. 170, is made to speak 
to the same effect. Next Melito of Sardis, A. d. 
177, is produced to confirm what the others have 
said. And finally, Irenasus, A. D. 178, who had 
been the disciple of Polycarp, v/ho had been the 
disciple of John the apostle, is brought forward 
to bear a decisive testimony in behalf of Sunday 
as the Lord's day and the Christian Sabbath. 

Sunday-lord's day not apostolic. 211 

These are the first seven witnesses who are 
cited to prove Sunday the Lord's day. They 
brino- us nearly to the close of the second centu- 
ry. They constitute the chain of testimony by 
which the Lord's day of the apostle John is iden- 
tified with the Sunday-Lord's day of later times. 
First-day writers present these witnesses as prov- 
ing positively that Sunday is the Lord's day of 
the Scriptures, and the Christian church accepts 
this testimony in the absence of that of the in- 
spired writers. But the folly of the people, and 
the wickedness of those who lead them, may be 
set forth in one sentence : — 

The first, second, third, fourth, and seventh, of 
these testimonies are inexcusable frauds, while 
the fifth and sixth have no decisive bearing upon 
the case. 

1. Ignatius, the first of these witnesses, it is 
said, must have known Sunday to be the Lord's 
day, for he calls it such, and he had conversed 
with the apostle John. But in the entire writ- 
ings of this father the term Lord's day does not 
once occur, nor is there in them all a single men- 
tion of the first da>y of the week ! The reader 
will find a critical examination of the epistles of 
Ignatius in chapter fourteen of this history. 

2. It is a pure fabrication that the martyrs in 
Pliny's time, about A. D. 104, and thence on- 
ward, were tested by the question whether they 
had kept the Sunday-Lord's day. No question 
at all resembling this is to be found in the words 
of the martyrs till we come to the fourth centu- 
ry, and then the reference is not at all to the first 
ciay of the week. This is fully shown in chapter 

3. The Bible Dictionary of the American Tract 


Society, page 379, brings forward the third of 
these Sunday- Lord's day witnesses in the person 
of Justin Martyr, A. D. 140. It makes him call 
Sunday tlie Lord's day by quoting him as fol- 
lows : — 

" Justin Martyr observes that 'on the Lord's day all 
Christian,s in the city or country meet together, because 
that is the day of our Lord's resurrection.' " 

But Justin never gave to Sunday the title of 
Lord's day, nor indeed any other sacred title. 
Here are his words correctly quoted : — 

''And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities 
or in the country gather together to one place, and the 
memoirs of the apostles, or the writings of the prophets, 
are read, as long as time permits," etc. ^ 

Justin speaks of the day called Sunday. But 
that he may be made to help establish its title 
to the name of Lord's day, his words are deliber- 
ately changed. Thus the third witness to Sun- 
day as the Lord's day, like the first and the sec- 
ond, is made such by fraud. But the fourth fraud 
is even worse than the three which precede. 

4. The fourth testimony to the Sunday-Lord's 
day is furnished in Dr. Justin Edwards' Sabbath 
Manual, p. 114: — 

"Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, about a. d. 1G2, says: 
' Both custom and reason challenge from us that we should 
honor tlie LortVs day, seeing on that day it was that our 
Lord Jesus completed his resurrection from the dead.' " 

Dr. Edwards does not pretend to give the place 
in Theophilus vv^here these words are to be found. 
Having carefully and minutely examined every 
paragraph of the writings of Theophilus several 
times over, I state emphatically that nothing of 

1 Justin Martyr's First Apology, chap. Ixvii. 

Sunday-lord's day not apostolic. 213 

the kind is to be found in that writer. He never 
uses the term Lord's day, and he does not even 
speak of the first day of the week. These v/ords 
which are so well adapted to create the impres- 
sion that the Sunday-Lord's day is of apostolic 
institution, are put into his mouth by the false- 
hood of some one. 

Here are four frauds, constituting the first four 
instances of the alleged use of Lord's day as a 
name for Sunday. Yet it ia by means of these 
veiy frauds that the Sunday-Lord's day of later 
ages is identified with the Lord's day of the Bi- 
ble. Somebody invented these frauds. The use 
to which they are put plainly indicates the pur- 
pose for which they were framed. The title of 
Lord's day must be proved to pertain to Sunday 
by apostolic authority. For this purpose these 
frauds were a necessity. The case of the Sunday- 
Lord's day may be fitly illustrated by that of the 
long line of popes. Their apostolic authority as 
head of the Catholic church depends on their being 
able to identify the apostle Peter as the first of 
their line, and to prove that his authority was 
transmitted to them. There is no difiiculty in 
tracing back their line to the early ages, though 
the earliest Roman bishops were modest, unas- 
suming men, wholly unlike the popes of after 
times. But when they come to make Peter the 
head of their line, and to identify his authority 
and theirs, they can do it only by fraudulent tes- 
timonials. And such is the case with first-day 
observance. It may be traced back as a festival 
to the time of Justin Mart}^', A. D. 140, but the 
day had then no sacred na,me, and at that time 
claimed no apostolic authoritj^ But these must 
be secured at anv cost, and so its title of Lord's 


day is by a series of fraudulent testimonials 
traced to the apostle John, as in like manner the 
authority of the popes is traced to the apostle 

5. The fifth witness of this series is Dionysius 
of Corinth, A. D. 170. Unlike the four which 
have been already examined, Dionysius actually 
uses the term Lord's day, though he saj^s nothing 
identifying it with the first day of the week. 
His words are these : — 

" To-day "vve have passed the Lord's holy day, in which we 
have read your epistle ; in reading which we shall always 
have our minds stored with admonition, as we shall, also, 
from that written to us before by Clement."^ 

The epistle of Dionysius to Soter, bishop of 
Rome, from which this sentence is taken, has per- 
ished. Eusebius, who wrote in the fourth cent- 
ury, has preserved to us this sentence, but we 
have no knowledge of its connection. First-day 
writers quote Dionysius as the fifth of their wit- 
nesses that Sunday is the Lord's day. They say 
that Sunday was so familiarly known as Lord's 
day in the time of Dionysius, that he calls it by 
that name without even stopping to tell what 
day he meant. 

But it is not honest to present Dionysius as a 
witness to the Sunday-Lord's day, for he makes 
no application of the term. But it is said he 
certainly meant Sunday because that was the 
familiar name of the day in his time, even as is 
indicated by the fact that he did not define the 
term. And how is it known that Lord's day was 
the familiar name of Sunday in the time of Di- 
onysius ? The four witnesses already examined 

J Eusebius's Eccl. Hist., book ir. chap, xxiii. 

Sunday-lord's day not apostolic. 215 

furnish all the evidence in proof of this, for there 
is no writer this side of Dionysius who calls Sun- 
day the Lord's day until almost the entire period 
of a generation has elapaed. So Dionysius con- 
stitutes the fifth witness of the series by virtue 
of the fact that the first four witnesses prove that 
in his time, Lord's day w^as the common name 
for first day of the week. But the first four tes- 
tify to nothing of the kind until the words are by 
fraud put into their mouths ! Dionysius is a wit- 
ness for the Sunday-Lord's da}^ because that four 
fraudulent testimonials from the generations pre- 
ceding him fix this as the meaning of his words ! 
And the name Lord's day must have been a very 
common one for first day of the week because 
Dionysius does not define the term ! And yet 
those who say this know that this one sentence 
of his e23istle remains, while the connection, which 
doubtless fixed his meaning, has perished. 

But Dionysius does not merely use the term 
Lord's day. He uses a stronger term than this 
— " the Lord's holy day." Even for a long period 
after Dionysius, no writer gives to Sunday so 
sacred a title as " the Lord's holy day." Yet this 
is the very title given to the Sabbath in the Holy 
Scriptures, and it is a well -ascertained fact that 
at this very time it was extensively observed, 
especially in Greece, the country of Dionysius, 
and that, too, as an act of obedience to the fourth 
commandment. ^ 

6. The sixth witness in this remai-kable series 
is Melito of Sardis, A. D. 177. The first four, who 
never use the term Lord's day, are by direct 
fraud made to call Sunday by that name ; the 

1 See chap, xviii. of this History. 


fifth, who speaks of the Lord's holy day, is claimed 
on the strength of these frauds to have meant by 
it Sunday ; while the sixth is not certainly proved 
to have spoken of any day ! Melito wrote sev- 
eral books now lost, the titles of which have been 
preserved to us by Eusebius.^ One of these,' as 
given in the English version of Eusebius, is " On 
the Lord's Day." Of course, first-day writers 
claim that this was a treatise concerning Sunday, 
though down to this point no writer calls Sunday 
by this name. But it is an im.portant fact that 
the word day formed no part of the title of 
Melito's book. It was a discourse on something per- 
taining to the Lord 6 iregt TTJg KvgiaKr/g loyog but the 

essential word v/iie()ac, day, is wanting. It may have 
been a treatise on the life of Christ, for lornatius 
thus uses these words in connection : KVQianyv ^ui/v, 
Lord's life. Like the sentence from Dionysius, it 
would not even seem to help the claim of Sunday 
to the title of Lord's day were it not for the series 
of frauds in which it stands. 

7. The seventh witness summoned to prove 
that Lord's day was the apostolic title of Sunda}^, 
is Irenreus. Dr. Justin Edwards professes to 
quote him as follows : — ^ 

''Hence Irenreus, bishop of Lyons, a disciple of Poly- 
carp, who had been the companion of the ax)ostles, a. d. 
167 [it should be a. d. 178], says that the Lord's day 
was the Christian Sabbath. His words are, 'On the 
Lord's day every one of us Christians keeps the Sabbath, 
meditating on the law, and rejoicing in the works of 

This witness is brought forward in a manner to 
give the utmost weight and authority to his words. 

' See his Ecclesiastical History, book iv. chap. xxvi. 
3 Sabbat li Manual, p. Ilk 

Sunday-lord's day not apostolic. 217 

He was the disciple of that eminent Christian mar- 
tyr, Polycarp, and Polycarp was the companion 
of the apostles. What Irenjeus says is therefore 
in the estimation of many as worthy of our con- 
fidence as though we could read it in the writ- 
ings of the apostles. Does not Irengeus call Sun- 
day the Christian Sabbath and the Lord's day ? 
Did he not learn these things from Polycarp? 
And did not Polycarp get them from the fountain 
head ? What need have we of further witness 
that Lord's day is the apostolic name for Sun- 
clay ? What if the six earlier witnesses have 
failed us ? Here is one that says all that can be 
asked, and he had his doctrine from a man who 
had his from the apostles ! 

Why then does not this establish the authority 
of Sunday as the Lord's day ? The first reason 
is that neither Irenjieus nor any other man can 
add to or change one precept of the word of God, 
on any pretense whatever. We are never author- 
ized to depart from the words of the inspired 
writers on the testimony of men who conversed 
with the apostles, or rather who conversed with 
some who had conversed with them. But the 
second reason is that every word of this pretended 
testimony of Irenseus is a fraud ! Nor is there 
a single instance in which the term Lord's day 
is to be found in any of his works, nor in any 
fragment of his works preserved in other authors ! ^ 
And this completes the seven witnesses by whom 
the Lord's day of the Catholic church is traced 
back to and identified with the Lord's day of 
the Bible ! It is not till A, D. 194, sixteen years 

1 See chap. xvi. of this work; and also Testimou}' of the Fa- 
thers, pp. 4^52. 

Sabbath History. 13 


after the latest of these witnesses, that we meet 
the first instance in which Sunday is called the 
Lord's day. In other words, Sunday is not called 
the Lord's day till ninety-eiglit years after John 
was upon Patrnos, and one hundred and sixty- 
three years after the resurrection of Christ ! 

But is not thi^ owing to the fact that the rec- 
ords of that period have perished ? By no 
means ; for the day is six times mentioned by the 
inspired writers between the resurrection of 
Christ, A. D. 31, and John's vision upon Patmos, 
A. D. 96 ; namely, by Matthew, A. D. 41 ; by Paul, 
A. D. 57 ; by Luke, A. d. 60, and A. d. 63 ; and by 
Mark, A. D. 64 ; and always as first day of the 
week. John, after his return from Patmos, A. D. 
97, twice mentions the day, still calling it first 
day of the week. 

After John's time, the day is next mentioned 
in the so-called epistle of Barnabas, v/ritten prob- 
ably as early as A. D. 140, and is there called 
" the eighth day." Next it is mentioned by Jus- 
tin Martyr in his Apology, A. D. 140, once as "the 
day on which we all hold our common assembly ;" 
once as " the first day on which God . . . made 
the world;" once as "the same day [on which 
Christ] rose from the dead;" once as "the day 
after that of Saturn ;" and three times as " Sun- 
day," or " the day of the sun." Next the day is 
mentioned by Justin Martyr in his Dialogue 
with Trypho, A. D. 155, in wliich he twice calls 
it the "eighth day;" once "the first of all the 
days ;" once as " the first " " of all the days of the 
[weekly] cycle ;" and twice as " the first day after 
the Sabbath." Next it is once mentioned by 
Iren?eus, A. D. 178, who calls it simply the first 
day of the week." And next it is mentioned 

Sunday-lord's day not APosroLic. 219 

once by Bardesanes, wlio calls it simply '•' the first 
of the week." The variety of names by which 
the day is mentioned during this time is re- 
markable; but it is never called Lord's day, 
nor ever called by any sacred name. 

Though Sunday is mentioned in so many dif- 
ferent ways during the second century, it is not 
till we come almost to the close of that century 
that we find the first instance in which it is called 
Lord's day. Clement, of Alexandria, A. D. 194, 
uses this title with reference to "the eighth day." 
If he speaks of a natural day, he no doubt means 
Sunday. It is not certain, however, that he 
speaks of a natural day, for his explanation gives 
to the term an entirely different sense. Here 
are his words : — 

'' And the Lord's day Plato prophetically si)eaks of in 
the tenth book of the Republic, in these words : ' And 
vfhen seven days have passed to each of them in the 
meadow, on the eighth they are to set out and arrive 
in four days.' By the meadow is to be understood the 
fixed sphere, as being a mild and genial spot, and the 
locality of the pious ; and by the seven days, each motion 
of the seven planets, and the whole practical art which 
speeds to the end of rest. But after the wandering orbs, 
the journey leads to Heaven, that is, to the eighth motion 
and day. And he says that souls are gone on the fourth 
day, pointing out the passage through the four elements. 
But the seventh day is recognized as sacred, not by the 
Hebrews only, but also by the Greeks ; according to which 
the whole world of all animals and yjlanta revolve. "^ 

Clement was originally a heathen philosopher, 
and these strange mysticisms which he here puts 
forth upon the words of Plato are only modifica- 
tions of his former heathen notions. Though 
Clement says that Plato speaks of the Lord's 

I The Miscellanies of Clement, book v. chap. xiv. 


day, it is certain that he does not understand 
him to speak of literal days nor of a literal 
meadow. On the contrary, he interprets the 
meadow to represent " the hxed sphere, as being 
a mild and genial spot, and the locality of the 
pious;" which must refer to their future inherit- 
ance. The seven days are not so many literal 
days, but they represent ''each motion of the 
seven planets, and the whole practical art which 
speeds to the end of rest." This seems to rep- 
resent the present period of labor which is to 
end in the rest of the saints. For he adds : "But 
after the wandering orbs [represented by Plato's 
seven days] the journey leads to Heaven, that is, 
to the eighth motion and day!' The seven days, 
therefore, do here represent the period of the 
Christian's i)ilgrimage, and the eighth day of 
which Clement here speaks is not Sunday, but 
Heaven itself! Here is the first instance of 
Lord's day as a name for the eighth day, but this 
eighth day is a mystical one, and means Heaven ! 
But Clement uses the term Lord's day once 
more, and this time clearly, as representing, not a 
literal day, but the whole period of our regener- 
ate life. For he speaks of it in treating of fast- 
inor and he sets forth fasting as consisting in ab- 
stinence from sinful pleasures, not only in deeds, 
to use his distinction, as forbidden by the law, but 
in thoughts, as forbidden by the gospel. Such 
fasting pertains to the entire life of the Christian. 
And thus Clement sets forth what is involved in 
observing this duty in the gospel sense : — 

"He, in fulfillment of the precept, according to the 
gospel, keeps the Lord's day, when he abandons an evil 

Sunday-lord's day not apostolic. 221 

disposition, and assumes that of the Gnostic, glorifying 
the Lord's resurrection in himself."^ 

From this statement we learn, not merely his 
idea of fasting, but also that of celebrating the 
Lord's day, and glorifying the resurrection of 
Christ. This, according to Clement, does not 
consist in paying special honors to Sunday, but 
in abandoning an evil disposition, and in assum- 
ing that of the Gnostic, a Christian sect to which 
he belonged. Now it is plain that this kind of 
Lord's-day observance pertains to no one day of 
the week, but embraces the entire life of the 
Christian. Clement's Lord's day was not a lit- 
eral, but a mystical, day, embracing, according to 
this, his second use of the term, the entire regen- 
erate life of the Christian ; and according to his 
first use of the term, embracing also the future 
life in Heaven. And this view is confirmed by 
Clement's statement of the contrast between the 
Gnostic sect to which he belonged and other 
Christians. He says of their worship that it was 
" NOT ON SPECIAL DAYS, as some others, but doing 
this continually in our whole life." And he 
speaks further of the worship of the Gnostic that 
it was " 710^ in a specified place, or selected tem- 
ple, or at certain festivals, and on appointed days, 
but during his whole life."^ 

It is certainly a very remarkable fact that the 
first writer who speaks of the Lord's day as the 
eighth day uses the term, not with reference to a 
literal, but a mystical, day. It is not Sunday, 
but the Christian's life, or Heaven itself ! This 

1 The Miscellanies of Clement, book vii. chap, xii.; Testimony of 
the Fathers, p. 61. 

2 The Miscellanies, book vii. chap, vii.; Testimony of the 
Fathers, p. 62. 


doctrine of a perpetual Lord's da}?-, wo shall find 
alluded to in Tertullian, and expressly stated in 
Origen, who are the next two writers that use 
the term Lord's da.y. But Clement's mystical or 
perpetual Lord's day shows that he had no idea 
that John, by Lord's day, meant Sunday ; for in 
that case, he must have recognized that as the 
true Lord's day, and the Gnostics' special day of 

Tertullian, A. D. 200, is the next writer who 
uses the term Lord's day. He defines his mean- 
ing, and fixes the name upon the day of Christ's 
resurrection. Kitto^ says this is " the earliest au- 
thentic instance " in which the name is thus ap- 
plied, and we have proved this true by actual 
examination of every writer, unless the reader 
can discover some reference to Sunday in Clem- 
ent's mystical eighth day. Tertullia,n's words are 
these : — 

' ' We, however ( j ust as we have received), only on the 
Lord's day of the resurrection [solo die dominico resurrex- 
ionis] ought to guard, not only against kneeling, but ev- 
ery i)osture a,nd office of solicitude ; deferring even our 
business, lest we give any place to the devil. Similarly, 
too, in the period of Pentecost ; which period we distin- 
guish by the same solemnity of exultation."" 

Twice more does Tertullian use the term Lord's 
day, and once more does he define it, this time 
calhng it the "eighth day." And in each of 
these two cases does he place the day which he 
calls Lord's day in the same rank with the Cath- 
olic festival of Pentecost, even as he does in the 
instance already quoted. As the second instance 

1 Kitto's Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature, original edition, ar- 
ticle Lord's hay. 

2 Tertullian oii Pravcr, chap, xxiii. ; Teatimonv of the Fathers, 
p. G7. 

Sunday-lord's day not apostolic. 223 

of Tertullian s use of Lord's day, we quote a por- 
tion of the rebuke which he addressed to his 
brethren for mingling with the heathen in their 
festivals. He says : — 

" Oh.1 better fidelity of the nations to their own sects, 
which claims no solemnity of the Christians for itself ! 
Not the Lord's day, not Pentecost, even if they had hiGicn 
them, would they have shared with ns ; for they vfould 
fear lest they should seem to be Christians. We are not 
apprehensive lest we seem to be heathens! If any indul- 
gence is to be granted to the flesh, you have it. I will 
not say your own days, but more too ; for to the heathens 
each festive day occurs but once annually ; you have a 
festive day every eighth day."^ 

The festival which Tertullian here represents 
as coming every eighth day was no doubt the 
one which he has just called the Lord's day. 
Though he elsewhere ^ speaks of the Sunday fes- 
tival as observed at least by some portion of the 
heathen, he here speaks of the Lord's day as un- 
known to those heathen of whom he now writes. 
This strongly indicates that the Sunday festival 
had but recently begun to be called by the name 
of Lord's day. But he once more speaks of the 
Lord's day : — 

"As often as the anniversary comes round, we make 
offerings for the dead as birth-day honors. We count 
fasting or kneeling in worship) on the Lord's day to be 
unlawful. We rejoice in the same privilege also from 
Easter to Whitsunday [the Pentecost]. We feel pained 
should any wine or bread, even though our own, be cast 
upon the ground. At every forward step and movement, 
at every going in and out, when vv^e put on our clothes 
and shoes, when we bathe, when we sit at table, when we 
light the lamps, on couch, on scat, in ail the ordinary 

' On Ifiolatry, chap. xiv. ; Testimony of the Fathers, p. CG. 
-Ad NatioiKS, book 1. chap. xiii. ; Testimony of the Fathers, p. 



actions of daily life, we trace upon the fofeliead the sign 
[of the cross]. 

^'If, for these and other such rules, you insist upon 
having positive Scripture injunction, you will find none. 
Tradition will be held forth to you as the originator of 
them, custom as their strengthener, and faith as their 
observer. That reason will support tradition, and cus- 
tom, and faith, you will either yourself perceive, or learn 
from some one who has."^ 

This completes the instances in which Tertul- 
lian uses the term Lord's day, except a mere al- 
lusion to it in his discourse on Fasting. It is 
very remarkable that in each of the three cases, 
he puts it on a level with the festival of Whit- 
sunday, or Pentecost. He also associates it di- 
rectly with "offerings for the dead" and with 
the use of " the sign of the cross." When asked 
for authority from the Bible for these things, he 
does not answer, " We have the authority of John 
for the Lord's day, though we have nothing but 
tradition for the sign of the cross and offerings 
for the dead." On the contrary, he said there 
was no Scripture injunction for any of them. If 
it be asked, How could the title of Lord's day be 
given to Sunday except by tradition derived 
from the apostles ? the answer will be properly 
returned, What was the oris^in of offerinors for the 
dead ? And how did the sign of the cross come 
into use among Christians ? The title of Lord's 
day as a name for Sunday is no nearer apostolic 
than is the sign of the cross, and offerings for the 
dead ; for it can be traced no nearer to apostolic 
times than can these most palpable errors of the 
great apostasy. 

Clement taught a perpetual Lord's day; Ter- 

1 De Corona, sects. 3 and 4 : Testimony of the Fathers, pp. 
C8, C!». 

Sunday-lord's day not apostolic. 225 

tuUian held a similar view, asserting that Chris- 
tians should celebrate a perpetual Sabbath, not 
by abstinence from labor, but from sin.^ Tertul- 
lian's method of Sunday observance will be no- 
ticed hereafter. 

Origen, A. D. 231, is the third of the ancient 
writers who call " the eighth day " the Lord's day. 
He was the disciple of Clement, the first writer 
who makes this application. It is not strange, 
therefore, that he should teach Clement's doctrine 
of a perpetual Lord's day, nor that he should 
state it even more distinctly than did Clement 
himself Origen, having represented Paul as 
teaching that all days are alike, continues 
thus : — 

"If it be objected to us on this subject that we our- 
selves are accustomed to observe certain days, as for ex- 
ample the Lord's day, the Preparation, the Passover, or 
Pentecost, I have to answer, that to the perfect Christian, 
who is ever in his thoughts, words, and deeds, serving 
his natural Lord, God the Word, all his days are the 
Lord's, and he is always keeping the Lord's day."' 

This was written some forty years after Clem- 
ent had propounded his doctrine of the Lord's 
day. The imperfect Christian might honor a 
Lord's day which stood in the same rank with 
the Preparation, the Passover, and the Pentecost. 
But the perfect Christian observed the true Lord's 
day, which embraced all the days of his regener- 
ate life. Origen uses the term Lord's day for 
two different days. 1. For a natural day, which 
in his judgment stood in the same rank with the 

1 An Answer to the Jews, chap. iv. ; Testimony of the Fathers, 
p. 73. 

2 Against Celsus, book 8. chap. xxii. ; Testimony of the Fa- 
thers, p. 87. 


Preparation day, the Passover, and the Pentecost. 
2. For a mystical day, as did Clement, which is 
the entire period of the Christian's life. The 
mystical day, in his estimation, was the true 
Lord's day. It therefore follows that he did not 
believe Sunday to be the Lord's day by apostolic 
appointment. But, after Origen's time, Lord's 
day becomes a common name for the so-called 
eighth day. Yet these three men, Clement, Ter- 
tuUian, and Origen, who first make this applica- 
tion, not only do not claim that this name was 
given to the day by the apostles, but do plainly 
indicate that they had no such idea. Offerings 
for the dead and the use of the sign of the cross 
are found as near to apostolic times as is the use 
of Lord's day as a name for Sunday. The three 
have a common origin, as shown by Tertullian's 
own words. Origen's views of the Sabbath, and 
of the Sunday festival, will be noticed hereafter. 

Such is the case with the claim of Sunday to 
the title of Lord's day. The first instance of its 
use, if Clement be supposed to refer to Sunday, 
is not till almost one century after John was in 
vision upon Patmos. Those who first call it by 
that name had no idea that it was such by di- 
vine or apostolic appointment, as they plainly 
show. In marked contrast with this is the 
Catholic festival of the Passover. Though never 
commanded in the New Testament, it can be 
traced back to men who say that they had it 
from the apostles ! 

Thus the churches of Asia Minor had tlie fes- 
tival from Polycarp who, as Eusebius states the 
claim of Polycarp, had " observed it with John 
the disciple of our Lord, and the rest of the apos- 

Sunday-lord's day not apostolic. 227 

ties with whom he associated."^ Socrates says 
of them that they maintain that this observance 
" was delivered to them by the apostle John." ^ 
Anatolius says of these Asiatic Christians that 
they receivecl " the rule from an unimpeachable 
authority, to v/it, the evangelist John." ^ 

Nor was this all. The western churches also, 
with the church of Rome at their head, were stren- 
uous observers of the Passover festival. They 
also traced the festival to the apostles. Thus 
Socrates says of them : " The Romans and those 
in the western parts assure us that their usage 
originated with the apostles Peter and Paul."^ 
But he says these parties cannot pi'ove this by 
written testimony. Sozomen says of the Romans, 
with respect to the Passover festival, that they 
" have never deviated from their original usage 
in this particular; the custom having been 
ha^nded down to them by the holy apostles Pe- 
ter and Paul." ^ 

If the Sunday-Lord's day could be traced to a 
man who claimed to have celebrated it with John 
and other of the apostles, how confidently would 
this be cited as proving positively that it is an 
apostolic institution ! And yet this can be done 
in the case of the Passover festival I Neverthe- 
less, a single fact in the case of this very festival 
is sufficient to teach us the folly of trusting in 
tradition. Poly carp claimed that John and other 
of the apostles taught him to observe the festival 
on the fourteenth day of the first month, what- 

lEusebins's Eccl. Hist., book v. chap. xxiv. 
2Socrates's Eccl. Hist., book v. chap. xxii. 
3 Anatolius, Tenth Fragment. 
-•Socrates's Eccl. Hist., book v. chap. xxii. 
^Sozomen's Eccl. Hist., book vii. chap, xviii.; see also Mo- 
sheim, book i. cent. 2, part ii. chap iv. sect. 'J. 


ever day of the week it might be ; while the eld- 
ers of the Roman church asserted that Peter and 
Paul taught them that it must be observed on 
the Sunday following Good Friday ! ^ 

The Lord's day of the Catholic church can be 
traced no nearer to John than A. D. 194, or per- 
haps in strict truth to A. D. 200, and those who 
then use the name show plainly that they did 
not believe it to be the Lord's day by apostolic 
appointment. To hide these fatal facts by seem- 
ing to trace the title back to Ignatius the disciple 
of John, and thus to identify Sunday with the 
Lord's day of that apostle, a series of remarkable 
frauds has been committed which we have had 
occasion to examine. But even could the Sun- 
day-Lord's day be traced to Ignatius, the disciple 
of John, it would then come no nearer being an 
apostolic institution than does the Catholic festi- 
val of the Passover, which can be traced to Poly- 
carp, another of John's disciples, who claimed to 
have received it from John himself I 



Origin of Sunday observance the subject of present inquiry 
— Contradictory statements of Mosheim and Neander — The 
question between them stated, and the true data for decid- 
ing that question — The New Testament furnishes no sup- 
port for Mosheim's statement — Epistle of Barnabas a 
forgery — Tlie testimony of Pliny determines nothing in 
the case — The epistle of Ignatius probably spurious, and 
certainly interpolated so far as it is made to sustain Sun- 
day — Decision of the question. 

'Socrates's Eccl. Hist., book v. chap, xxii.; McClintock and 
Strong's Cycloi)edia, vol. iji. p, 13 ; Bingham's Auti<iuities, p. 1149. 


The first day of the week is now almost uni- 
versally observed as the Christian Sabbath. The 
origin of this institution is still before us as the 
subject of inquiry. This is presented by two 
eminent church historians; but so directly do 
they contradict each other, that it is a question 
of curious interest to determine which of them 
states the truth. Thus Mosheim writes respect- 
ing the first century : — 

"All Christians were unanimous in setting apart the 
first day of the week, on which the triumphant Saviour 
arose from the dead, for the solemn celebration of public 
worship. This pious custom, which was derived from 
the example of the church of Jerusalem, was founded up- 
on the express appointment of the apostles, who consecrat- 
ed that day to the same sacred purpose, and was observed 
universally throughout the Christian churches, as appears 
from the united testimonies of the most credible writers."^ 

Now let us read what Neander, the most dis- 
tinguished of church historians, says of this 
apostolic authority for Sunday observance : — 

' ' The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was 
always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the 
intentions of the apostles to establish a divine command 

iMaclaine's Mosheim, cent. 1, part ii. chap. iv. sec. 4. I have 
given Maclaine's translation, not because it is an accurate version 
of Mosheim, but because it is so much used in support of the first- 
day Sabbath. Maclaine in his preface to Mosheim says : " L have 
sometimes taken considerable liberties with my author." And 
he tells us what these liberties were by saying that he had "often 
added a few sentences, to render an observation more striking, a 
fact more clear, a portrait more finished." The present quota- 
tion is an instance of these liberties. Dr. Murdock of New Haven 
who has given "a close, literal version" of Mosheim, gives the 
passage thus: — 

"The Christians of this century, assembled for the worship of 
God, and for their advancement in piety, on the first day of the 
week, the day on which Christ reassumed his life: for that this 
day was set apart for religious worship, by the apostles them- 
selves, and that, after the example of the church of Jerusalem, it 
was genera'Iy observed, we have unexceptionable testimony." — 
MiM'dock^s Mosheim-, cent. 1, part ii. chap. iv. sec. 4. 


in this respect, far from them, and from the early apos- 
tolic church, to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sun- 
day. Perhaps at the end of the second century a false 
application of this kind had begun to take place ; for men 
appear by that time to have considered laboring on Sun- 
day as a sin."^ 

How shall we determine which of these histo- 
rians is in the right ? Neither of them lived in 
the apostolic age of the church. Mosheim was 
a writer of the eighteenth centur}^, and Neander, 
of the nineteenth. Of necessity therefore they 
must learn the facts in the case from the writ- 
ings of that period which have come down to us. 

1 Neander's Church History, transhited bj' H. J. Rose, p. 18G. 
To break the force of this strong statement of Neander that " the 
festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a hu- 
man ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the apostles 
to establish a divine command in this respect, far from them, and 
from the early apostolic church, to transfer the laws of the Sab- 
bath to Sunda}"," two things have been said: — 

1. That Neaiader, in a later edition of his work, retracted this 
declaration. It is true that in re-writing his work he omitted this 
sentence. But he inserted nothing of a contrary character, and 
the general tenor of the revised edition is in this place precisely 
the same as in that from which this out-spoken statement is taken. 

In proof of this, we cite from the later edition of Neander his 
statement in this very i)lace of what constituted Sunday observ- 
ance in the carl}- church. He says: — 

*' Sunday was distinguished as a day of joy, by being exempted 
from fasts, and by the circumstance that prayer was performed 
on this day in a standing and not in a kneeling posture, as 
Christ, by his resurrection, had raised up fallen man again to 
Heaven." — Torrejfs Neander, vol. i. p. 295, ed. 1852. 

This is an accurate account of early Sanda}'- observance, as we 
shall hereafter show; and that such observance was only a human 
ordinance, of which no feature was ever commanded by the apos- 
tles, will be very manifest to every person who attempts to find 
any precept for any particular of it in the New Testament. 

2. But the other method of setting aside this testimony of Ne- 
ander is to assert that he did not mean to deny that the apostles 
established a divine command for Sunday as the Christian Sab- 
bath, but meant to assert that they did not establish a divine com- 
mand for Sunday as a Catholic "festival ! Those who make this 
assei'tion must know that it is false. Neander expressly denies 
that the apostles either constituted or recognized Sunday as a 
Sabbath, and he represents Sunday as a mere festival ii'om the 
very first of its observance, and established only by human au- 


These contain all the testimony which can have 
any claim to be admitted in deciding this case. 
These are, first, the inspired writings of the New 
Testament; second, the reputed productions of 
such writers of thp.t age as are supposed to men- 
tion the first day, viz., the eJDistle of Barnabas ; 
the letter of Pliny, governor of Bythinia, to the 
emperor Trajan; and the epistle of Ignatius. 
These are all the writings prior to the middle of 
the second century — and this is late enough to 
amply cover the ground of Mosheim's statement — 
which can be introduced as even referring to the 
first day of the week. 

The questions to be decided by this testimony 
are these : Did the apostles set apart Sunday for 
divine w^orship (as Mosheim affirms) ? or does 
the evidence in the case show that the festival 
of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always 
only a human ordinance (as is afiirmed by Ne- 
ander) ? 

It is certain that the New Testament contains 
no appointment of Sunday for the solemn cele- 
bration of public worship. And it is equally true 
that there is no example of the church of Jeru- 
salem on v/hich to found such observance. The 
New Testament therefore furnishes no support ^ 
for the statement of Mosheim. 

The three epistles which have come down to 
us purporting to have been written in the apos- 
tolic age, or immediately subsequent to that age, 
next come under examination. These are all that 
remain to us of a period more extended than that 
embraced in the statemxent of Mosheim. He 
speaks of the first century only ; but v/e summon 

1 See chaptei's x. and xi , in which the New Testament has been 
carefully examined on this point. 


all the writers of that century, and of the follow- 
ing one prior to the time of Justin Martyr, A. T>. 
140, who are even supposed to mention the first 
day of the week. Thus the reader is furnished 
with all the data in the case. The epistle of Bar- 
nabas speaks as follows in behalf of first-day ob- 
servance : — 

' ' Lastly he saitli unto them, Your new-moons and your 
sabbaths I cannot bear them. Consider what he means 
by it ; the sabbaths, says he, which ye now keep, are not 
accceptable unto me, but those which I have made ; when 
resting from all things, I shall begin the eighth day, that 
is, the beginning of the other world ; for which cause we 
observe the eighth day with gladness, in which Jesus 
arose from the dead, and having manifested himself to 
his disciples, ascended into Heaven."^ 

It might be reasonably concluded that Mo- 
sheim would place great reliance upon this testi- 
mony as coming from an apostle, and as being 
somewhat better suited to sustain the sacredness 
of Sunday than anything previously examined 
by us. Yet he frankly acknowledges that this 
epistle is spurious. Thus he says : — 

*'The epistle of Barnabas was the production of some 
Jew, who, most probably, lived in this century, and whose 
mean abilities and superstitious attachment to Jewish fa- 
bles, show, notwithstanding the uprightness of his inten- 
tions, that he must have been a very different person 
from the true Barnabas, who was St. Paul's comiDanion." - 

In another work, Mosheim says of this epis- 
tle :— 

"As to what is suggested by some, of its having been 
%\'Titten by that Barnabas who was the friend and com- 
panion of St, Paul, the futility of such a notion is easily 

1 Epistle of Barnabas 13 : 9, 10 ; or, as otherft divide the epistle, 
chapter 15. s 

sfecel. Hist., cent. 1, part ii. chap. ii. sect. 21, 


to be made apparent from the letter itself ; several of the 
opinions and interpretations of Scripture which it con- 
tains, having in them so little of either truth, dignity or 
force, as to render it impossible that they could ever have 
proceeded from the ^en of a man divinely instructed."^ 

Neander speaks thus of this epistle : — 

" It is impossible that we should acknowledge this epis- 
tle to belong to that Barnabas who was worthy to be the 
companion of the apostolic labors of St, Paul." ^ 

Prof. Stuart bears a similar testimony : — 

" That a man by the name of Barnabas wrote this epis- 
tle I doubt not ; that the chosen associate of Paul wrote 
it, I with many others must doubt." ^ 

Dr. Killen, Professor of Ecclesiastical History, 
to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian 
church of Ireland, uses the following language : — 

" The tract known as the Epistle of Barnabas was prob- 
ably composed in A. d. 135. It is the production appar- 
ently of a convert from Judaism who took special pleasure 
in allegorical interpretation of Scripture. " * 

Prof. Hackett bears the following testimony : — 

"The letter still extant, wliich was known as that of 
Barnabas even in the second century, cannot be defended 
as genuine."^ 

Mr. Milner speaks of the reputed epistle of 
Barnabas as follows : — 

" It is a great injury to him to apprehend the epistle, 
which goes by his name, to be his." ® 

Kitto speaks of this production as, 

1 Historical Commentaries, cent. 1, sect. 53. 

2 Rose's Xeander, p. 407. 

3 Note appended to Gurney's History, 'Authority, and Use of 
the Sabbath, p. 86. 

4 Ancient Church, pp. 3G7, 368. 

5 Commentary on Acts, p. 251. 

*' History of the Church, cent. 1, chap. xv. 

Saliljath Ilistnrv, 1« 


" The ao-called epistle of Barnabas, probably a forgery of 
tlie second century."^ 

Says the Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 
speaking of the Barnabas of the New Testa- 
ment : — 

"He could not be the author of a work so full of 
forced allegories, extravagant and unwarrantable expli- 
cations of Scripture, together with stories concerning 
beasts, and such like conceits, as make up the first part 
of this epistle." - 

Eusebius, the earliest of church historians, 
places this epistle in the catalogue of spurious 
books. Thus he says : — 

''Among the spurious must be numbered both the 
books called, 'The Acts of Paul,' and that called, ' Pas- 
tor,' and 'The Revelation of Peter.' Besides these the 
books called 'The Epistle of Barnabas,' and what are 
called, ' The Institutions of the Apostles.' " ^ 

Sir Wm. Domville speaks as follows : — 

' ' But the epistle was not written by Barnabas ; it was 
not merely unworthy of him, — it would be a disgrace to 
him, and what is of much more consequence, it would be 
a disgrace to the Christian religion, as being the produc- 
tion of one of the authorized teachers of that religion in 
the times of the apostles, which circumstance would se- 
riously damage the evidence of its divine origin. Not 
being the epistle of Barnabas, the document is, as regards 
the Sabbath question, nothing more than the testimony 
of some unknown w^riter to the practice of Sunday ob- 
servance by some Christians of some unknown communi- 
ty, at some uncertain period of the Christian era, with no 
sufficient ground for believing that period to have been 
the first century. " * 

1 Cjc. Bib. Lit., art. Lord's day, tenth ed. 1S58. 
2Encvc. of Rel. Kuowl., art. Barnabas' Epistle. 

2 Ecci. Hist., book iii. chap. xxv. 

*Tlie Sabbath, or an Examination of the Six Texts commonly 
adduced from the New Testament in proof of a Christian Sabbath, 
p. 233. 


Coleman bears the following testimony : — 

'' The epistle of Barnabas, bearing the honored name 
of the companion of Paul in his missionary labors, is evi- 
dently spurious. It abounds in fabulous narratives, mys- 
tic, allegorical interpretations of the Old Testament, and 
fanciful conceits, and is generally agreed by the learned 
to be of no authority." ^ 

As a specimen of the unreasonable and absurd 
things contained in this epistle, the following pas- 
sage is quoted : — 

"Neither shalt thou eat of the hyena: that is, again, 
be not an adulterer ; nor a corrupter of others ; neither 
be like to such. And wherefore so ? Because that crea- 
ture every year changes its kind, and is sometimes male, 
and sometimes female." " 

Thus first-day historians being allowed to de- 
cide the case, we are authorized to treat this epis- 
tle as a forgery. And whoever will read its ninth 
chapter — for it will not bear quoting — will ac- 
knowledge the justice of this conclusion. This 
epistle is the only v/riting purporting to come 
from the first century except the New Testament, 
in which the first day is even referred to. That 
this furnishes no support for Sunday observance, 
even Mosheim acknowledges. 

The next document that claims our attention 
is the letter of Pliny, the Roman governor of 
Bythinia, to the emperor Trajan. It was wiitten 
about A. D. 104. He says of the Christians of 
his province : — 

' ' They ajffirmed that the whole of their guilt or error 
was, that they met on a certain stated day, before it was 
light, and addressed themselves in a form of j)rayer to 
Christ, as to some god, binding themselves by a solemn 
oath, not for the purposes of any wicked design, but never 
to commit any fraud, theft, or adultery ; never to falsify 

1 Ancient Christianity, chap, i, sect. 2. 

2 I^pistle of Barnabas, 9:8. In some editions it is chap. 10. 


their word, nor deny a trust vrlien tliey should be called 
upon to deliver it up ; after which it was their custom to 
separate, and then re-assemble to eat in common a harm- 
less meal. " ^ 

This epistle of Pliny certainly furnishes no sup- 
port for Sunday observance. The case is pre- 
sented in a candid manner by Coleman. He says 
of this extract : — 

*'This statement is evidence that these Christians kept 
a day as holy time, but whether it was the last or the first 
day of the v.^eek, does not appear. " " 

Charles Buck, an eminent first-day writer, saw 
no evidence in this epistle of first-day observance, 
as is manifest from the indefinite translation 
which he gives it. Thus he cites the epistle : — 

'^ These persons declare that their whole crime, if they 
are guilty, consists in this : that on certain days they as- 
semble before sunrise to sing alternately the praises of 
Christ as of God."^ 

Tertullian, who wrote A. D. 200, speaks of this 
very statement of Pliny thus : — 

" He found in their religious services nothing but meet- 
ings at early morning for singing hymns to Christ and 
God, and sealing home their way of life by a united pledge 
to be faithful to their religion, forbidding murder, adul- 
tery, dishonesty, and other crimes." ^ 

Tertullian certainly found in this no reference 
to the festival of Sunday. 

Mr. W. B. Taylor speaks of this stated day as 
follows : — 

^' As the Sabbath day appears to have been quite as 
commonly observed at this date as the sun's day (if not 
even more so), it is just as probable that this * stated day ' 

1 Coleman's Ancient Christianity, pp. 35, 30. 
"Ancient Christianity Exemplified, chap. 2il. sect. 2. 
- JJiick's Theolotrical Dictionary, art. Christians, 
^ Tcrtullian's Apoloijjy, sect. 2. 


referred to by Pliny was the seventh day, as that it was 
the first day ; though the latter is generally taken for 

Taking for granted the very point that should 
be proved, is no new feature in the evidence thus 
far examined in support of first-day observ- 
ance. Although Mosheim relies on this expres- 
sion of Pliny as a chief support of Sunday, yet 
he speaks thus of the opinion of another learned 
man : — 

^'B. Just. Hen. Boehmer, would indeed have us to un- 
derstand this day to have been the same with the Jewish 

This testimony of Pliny was written a few 
years subsequent to the time of the apostles. It 
relates to a church which probably had been 
founded by the apostle Peter. ^ It is certainly 
far more probable that this church, only forty 
years after the death of Peter, was keeping the 
fourth commandment, than that it was observing 
a day never enjoined by divine authority. It 
must be conceded that this testimony from Pliny 
proves nothing in support of Sunday observance ; 
for it does not designate what day of the week 
was thus observed. 

The epistles of Ignatius of Antioch so often 
quoted in behalf of first-day observance, next 
claim our attention. He is represented as say- 

" Wherefore if they who are brought up in these an- 
cient laws came nevertheless to the newness of hope ; no 
longer observing sabbaths, but keeping the Lord's day, 
in which also our life is sprung up by him, and tlirough 

1 Obligation of the Sabbath, p. 300. 

2 Historical Commentaries, cent. 1, sect. 47. 

8 1 Pet. 1 : 1. See Clarke's Commentary, preface to the epis- 
tles of Peter. 


his death, whom yet some deny (by which mystery we 
have been brought to believe, and therefore wait that we 
may be found the disciples of Jesus Christ, our only mas- 
ter) : how shall we be able to live different from him ; 
whose disciples the very prophets themselves being, did 
by the Spirit expect him as their master."^ 

Two important facts relative to this quotation 
are worthy of particular notice : 1. That the 
epistles of Ignatius are acknowledged to be spuri- 
ous by first-day wiiters of high authority ; and 
those epistles which some of them except as pos- 
sibly genuine, do not include in their number the 
epistle to the Magnesians from which the above 
quotation is made, nor do they say anything rel- 
ative to first-day observance. 2. That the epis- 
tle to the Magnesians would say nothing of any 
day, were it not that the word day had been 
fraudulently inserted by the translator 1 In sup- 
port of the first of these propositions the follow- 
ing testimony is adduced. Dr. Killen speaks as 
follows : — 

*'In the sixteenth century, fifteen letters were brought 
out from beneath the mantle of a hoary antiquity, and 
offered to the world as the productions of the pastor of 
Antioch. Scholars refused to receive them on the terms 
required, and forthwith eight of them were admitted to 
be forgeries. In the seventeenth century, the seven re- 
maining letters, in a somewhat altered form, again came 
forth from obscurity, and claimed to be the works of Ig- 
natius. Again discerning critics refused to acknov,dedge 
their pretensions ; but curiosity was roused by this sec- 
ond apparition, and many expressed an earnest desire to 
obtain a sight of the real epistles. Greece, Syria, Pales- 
tine, and Egypt, were ransacked in search of them, and 
at length three letters are found. The discovery creates 
general gratulation ; it is confessed that four of the epis- 
tles so lately asserted to be genuine, are apocryphal ; and 

1 1/jnatius to the Magnesians, 3 : 0-5 ; or, as others divide the 
ci)isuc, chap. 9. 


it is boldly said that the three now forthcoming are above 
challenge. But truth still refuses to be compromised, and 
sternly disowns these claimants for her approbation. The 
internal evidence of these three epistles abundantly at- 
tests that, like the last three books of the Sibyl, they are 
only the last shifts of a grave imiDosture. " ^ 

The same writer thus states the opinion of 
Calvin : — 

^' It is no mean proof of the sagacity of the great Cal- 
vin, that, upwards of three hundred years ago, he passed 
a sweeping sentence of condemnation on these Ignatian 
epistles." " 

Of the three epistles of Ignatius still claimed 
as genuine, Prof. C. F. Hudson speaks as fol- 
lows : — 

" Ignatius of Antioch was martyred probably A. d. 115. 
Of the eight epistles ascribed to him, three are genuine ; 
viz, , those addressed to Polycarp, the Ephesians, and the 
Romans." ^ 

It will be observed that the three epistles which 
are here mentioned as genuine do not include that 
epistle from which the quotation in behalf of 
Sunday is taken, and it is a fact also that they 
contain no allusion to Sunday. Sir. Wm. Dom- 
ville, an anti- Sabbatarian writer, uses the fol- 
lowing language : — ■ 

"Every one at all conversant with such matters is 
awa,re that the works of Ignatius have been more interpo- 
lated and corrupted than those of any other of the ancient 
fathers ; and also that some writings have been attributed 
to him which are wholly spurious." * 

Robinson, an eminent English Baptist writer 
of the last century, expresses the following opin- 

1 Ancient Church, pp. 413, 414. 2 id. p. 427. 

3 Future Life, p. 290. 

* Examination of the Six Texts, p. 237. 


ion of the epistles ascribed to Ignatius, Barnabas, 
and others : — 

"If any of the writings attributed to those who are 
called apostolical fathers, as Ignatius, teacher at Antioch, 
Polycarp, at )Smyrna, Barnabas, who was half a Jew, and 
Hennas, who was brother to Pius, teacher at Rome, if 
any of these be genuine, of which there is great reason to 
doubt, they only prove the piety and illiteracy of the 
good men. Some are worse, and the best not better, than 
the godly epistles of the lower sort of Baptists and Qua- 
kers in the time of the civil war in England. Barnabas 
and Hermas both mention baptism ; but both of these 
books are contemptible reveries of wild and irregular gen- 
iuses." ^ 

The doubtful character of these Ignatian epis- 
tles is thus sufficiently attested. The quotation 
in behalf of Sunday is not taken from one of the 
three epistles that are still claimed as genuine ; 
and what is still further to be observed, it would 
say nothing in behalf of any day were it not for 
an extraordinary license, not to say fraud, which 
the translator has used in inserting the word day. 
This fact is shown with critical accuracy by Kit- 
to, whose Cyclopedia is in high repute among 
first-day scholars. Thus he presents the original 
of Ignatius with comments and a translation as 
follows : — 

' ' We must hero notice one other passage ... as bear- 
ing on the subject of the Lord's day, though it certainly 
contains no mention of it. It occurs in the epistle of Ig- 
natius to the Magnesians (about a. d. 100.) The whole 
passage is confessedly obscure, and the text may be cor- 
rupt. . . . The passage is as follows : — . 

El ovv 6l hv TTaXaiolc iTQuy/iaaiu avaaTQacbtvrea, eJf Kaivdrrjra 
k'k'KidoQ fjl'&oD — iirjhht oaf^iyaTii^opTeg, ciTJm Kara KvgiaKyv ^ui)^ 
^(jpreg — (ev ?) kul ?} ^cj?) 7/fi(Jv avtT€t?i£V 61' avrov, etc.) ^ 

» Ecclesiastical Researches, chap. vi. pp. 50, 51, ed. 1702. 
2 Ignatius ad Magnesios, sect. 9. 


"Now many coriimentators assume (on what ground 
does not appear), that after Kvptanrjv [Lord's] the word 

rifxkpav [day] is to be understood Let us now look 

at the passage simply as it stands. The defect of the sen- 
tence is the w^ant of a substantive to which av-ov can re- 
fer. This defect, so far from being remedied, is ren- 
dered still more glaring by the introduction of ////fpa. Now 
if we. take KvpiaKTj ^w/) as simply 'the life of the Lord,' 
having a more personal meaning, it certainly goes nearer 

to supplying the substantive to avrov Thus upon 

the whole the meaning might be given thus : — 

" If those who lived under the old dispensation have 
come to the newness of hope, no longer keeping sabbaths, 
but living according to our Lord's life (in which, as it 
were, our life has risen again through him, &c.) . . . 

" On this view the passage does not refer at all to the 
Lord's day ; but even on the opposite supposition it can- 
not be regarded as affording any positive evidence to the 
early use of the term ' Lord's day ' (for which it is often 
cited), since the material word ?///f^a [day] is purely con- 
jectural." ^ 

The learned Morer, a clergyman of the cliurch 
of England, confirms this statement of Kitto. 
He renders Ignatius thus : — 

'' If therefore they who were well versed in the works of 
ancient days came to newness of hope, not sabbatizing, 

but living according to the dominical life, &c 

The Medicean copy, the best and most like that of Euse- 
biu.s, leaves no scruple, because C^^z/p is expressed and de- 
termines the word dominical to the person of Christ, and 
not to the day of his resurrection." - 

Sir Wm. Domville speaks on this point as fol- 
lows : — 

"Judging therefore by the tenor of the epistle itself, 
the literal translation of the passage in discussion, ' no 
longer observing sabbaths, but living according to the 
Lord's life,' appears to give its true and proper meaning; 

1 Crc. Bib. Lit., art. Lord's day. 

2 Dialogues on the Lord's Day, pp. 206, 207. 


and if this be so, Ignatius, whom Mr. Giirney ^ puts f or- 
vrard as a material witness to prove the observance of the 
Lord's day in the beginning of tlie second century, fails 
to prove any such fact, it appearing on a thorough exam- 
ination of his testimony that he does not even mention 
the Lord's day, nor in any way allude to the religious ob- 
servance of it, whether by that name or by any other. "^ 

It is manifest, therefore, that this famous quo- 
tation has no reference whatever to the first day 
of the week, and that it furnishes no evidence 
that that day was known in the time of Ignatius 
by the title of Lord's day.^ The evidence is now 
before the reader which must determine whether 
Moshiem or Neander spoke in accordance with 
the facts in the case. And thus it appears that 
in the New Testament, and in the uninspired 
writers of the period referred to, there is abso- 
hitely nothing to sustain the strong Sunday 
statement of Mosheim. When we come to the 
fourth century, we shall find a statement by him 
which essentially modifies what he has here said. 
Of the epistles ascribed to Barnabas, Pliny, and 
Ignatius, we have found that the first is a for- 
gery; that the second speaks of a stated day 
without defining what one; and that the third, 
which is probably a spurious document, would 
say nothing relative to Sunday, if the advocates 
of first-day sacredness had not interpolated the 
word day into the document ! We can hardly 
avoid the conclusion that Mosheim spoke on this 
subject as a doctor of divinity, and not as a his- 

lA lirst-day writer, author of the "History, Authority, and 
Use, of the Sabbath." 

2 Examination of the Six Texts, pp. 250, 251. 

3 For a more full statement of the case of Ignatius, see the 
" Testimony of the Fathers," pp. 2G-30. The quotation from Ig- 
natius examined in this chapter is there shown, according to the 
connection, to relate, not to New-Testament Christians, but to the 
ancient prophets. 


torian ; and with the firmest conviction that we 
speak the truth, we say with Neander, " The fes- 
tival of Sunday was always only a human ordi- 



Were the martyrs in Pliny '« time and afterward tested by 
the question whether they had kept Sunday or not ? — Ar- 
gument in the affirmative quoted from Edwards — Its origin 
— No facts to sustain such an argument prior to the fourth, 
century — A single instance at the opening of that century 
all that can be claimed in support of the assertion — Sun- 
day not even alluded to in that instance — Testimony of 
Mosheim relative to the work in which this is found. 

Certain doctors of divinity have made a special 
effort to show that the " stated day " of Pliny's 
epistle is the first day of the week. * For this pur- 
pose they adduce a fabulous narrative which the 
more reliable' historians of the church have not 
deemed worthy of record. The argument is this : 
That in Pliny's time and afterward, that is, from 
the close of the first century and onward, when- 
ever the Christians were brought before their 
persecutors for examination, they were asked 
whether they had kept the Lord's day, this term 
being used to designate the first da}^ of the week. 
And hence two facts are asserted to be estab- 
lished : 1. That when Phny says that the Chris- 
tians who were examined by him were accus- 
tomed to meet on a stated day, that day was un- 
doubtedly the first day of the week. 2. That 
the observance of the first day of the week was 


the grand test by which Christians were known 
to their heathen persecutors. 3. That Lord's 
day was the name by which the first day of the 
week was known in the time of Phny, a few 
years after the death of John. To prove these 
points, Dr. Edwards makes the following state- 
ment : — 

"Hence the fact that their persecutors, when they 
wished to know wliether men were Christians, were ac- 
customed to put to them this question, viz. , ' Dominicum 
servastir — ' Hast thou kept the Lord's day?' If they had 
they were Christians. This was the badge of their Chris- 
tianity, in distinction from Jews and pagans. And if 
they said they had, and woukl not recant, they must be 
put to death. And what, when they continued steadfast, 
was their answer ? ' Christianus sum; intermittere non pos- 
sum ; ' — ' I am a Christian ; I cannot omit it. ' It is a 
badge of my religion, and the man who assumes it must 
of course keep the Lord's day, because it is the will of his 
Lord ; and should he abandon it, he would be an apostate 
from his religion."^ 

Mr. Gurney, an English first-day writer of 
some note, uses the same argument and for the 
same purpose.^ The importance attached to this 
statement, and the prominence given to it by the 
advocates of first-day sacredness, render it proper 
that its merits should be examined. Dr. Edwards 
gives no authority for his statement; but Mr. 
Gurney traces the story to Dr. Andrews, bishop 
of Winchester, who claimed to have taken it from 
the Acta Martyrimi, an ancient collection of the 
acts of the martyrs. It was in the early part of 
the seventeenth century that Bishop Andrews 
first brought this forward in his speech in the 
court of Star Chamber, against Thraske, who was 

1 Sabbath Manual, p. 120. 

*See his " llistory, Authority, and Use, of the Sabbath," chap, 
iv. i)p. 87, 88. 


accused before tliat arbitrary tribunal of main- 
taining the heretical opinion that Christians are 
bound to keep the seventh day as the Sabbath 
of the Lord. The story was first produced, there- 
fore, for the purpose of confounding an observer 
of the Sabbath when on trial by his enemies for 
keeping that day. Sir Wm. Domville, an able 
an ti- Sabbatarian writer, thus traces out the mat- 
ter : — 

'' The bislioi), as we have seen, refers to the Acta of 
the martyrs as justifying his assertion respecting the 
question, Dominicum servasti? but he does not cite a sin- 
gle instance from them in which that question was put. We 
are left therefore to hunt out the instances for ourselves, 
wherever, if anywhere, they are to be found. The most 
complete collection of the memoirs and legends still ex- 
tant, relative to the lives and sufferings of the Christian 
martrys, is that by Ruinart, entitled, ^ Acta primormn 
Marty nun sincera et selecta. ' I have carefully consulted 
that work, and I take upon myself to affirm that among 
the questions there stated to have been put to the mar- 
tyrs in and before the time of Pliny, and for nearly two 
hundred years afterwards, the question, Dominicum ser- 
vasti? does not once occur ; nor any equivalent question."^ 

This shows at once that no proof can be ob- 
tained from this quarter, either that the " stated 
day " of Pliny was the first day of the week, or 
that the martyrs of the early church were tested 
by the question whether they had observed it or 
not. It also shows the statement to be false that 
the martyrs of Pliny's time called Sunday the 
Lord's day and kept it as such. After quoting 
all the questions put to martyrs in and before 
Pliny's time, and thus proving that no such ques- 
tion as is alleged, was put to them, Domville 
says : — 

1 Examination of tlu" Six Texts, pp. 25S-2G1. 


'' This much may suffice to show that Doinhiknm ser- 
rasti ? was no question in Plinj-'s time, as Mr. Gurney in- 
tends us to believe it was. I have, however, still other 
proof of INIr. Gurney's unfair dealing with the subject, 
but I defer stating it for the present, that I may proceed 
in the inquuy, What may have been the authority on 
which Bishop Andrews relied Avhen stating that Domini- 
ciim servasti ? was ever a usual q^^estion put by the hea- 
then persecutors ? I shall with this view pass over the 
martyrdoms which intervened between Pliny's time and 
the fourth century, as they contain nothing to the pur- 
pose, and shall come at once to that martyi-dom the nar- 
rative of which was, I have no doubt, the source from 
which Bishop Andrews derived his question, Dominicum 
servasti? 'Hold you the Lf)rd's day T This martyrdom 
happened a. d. 304.^ The sufierers were Saturninus and 
his four sons, and several other persons. They were 
taken to Carthage, and brought before the proconsul Am- 
ulinus. In the account given of their examinations by 
him, the phrases, ' Celebkare Dominicum,' and 'Agere 
Dominicum,' frequently occur, but in no instance is the 
verb '^Y'rmrc ' used in reference to Dominicum. I men- 
tion this chiefly to show that when Bishop Andrews, al- 
luding, as no doubt he does, to the narrative of this mar- 
tyrdom, says the question was, Dominicum sermsti? it is 
very clear he had not his author at hand, and that in 
trusting to his memory, he coined a phrase of his own."" 

Domville quotes at length the conversation be- 
tween tlie proconsul and the martyrs, wliicli is 
quite similar in most respects to Gurney's and 
Edward's quotation from Andrews. He then 
adds : — 

" The narrative of the martyrdom of Saturninus being 
the only one which has the appearance of supporting the 
assertion of Bishop Andrews that, ' Hold you the Lord's 
day ?' was the usual question to the martjTS, v.hat if I 
sliould prove that even this narrative alfords no support 
to that assertion ? yet nothing is more easy than this 
proof ; for Bishop Andrews has quite mistaken the mean- 

1 The date in Baronius is a. d. 303. 

2 Examination of the Six Texts, pp. 2G3-265. 


ing of the word Dominicum in translating it ' the Lord's 
day. ' It had no such meaning. It was a barbarous word 
in use among some of the ecclesiastical writers in, and 
subsequent to, the fourth century, to express sometimes 
a church, and at other times the Lord's supper, but never 
the Lord's day.^ My authorities on this point are — 

'^ 1. Ruinart, who, upon the word Dominicum, in the 
narrative of the martyrdom of Saturninus, has a note, in 
which he says it is a word signifying the Lord's supper " 
{' Dominicum vera desinat sacra mysteria '), and he quotes 
Tertullian and Cyprian in support of this interpreta- 

" 2. The editors of the Benedictine edition of St. Au- 
gustine's works. They state that the word Dominicum 
has the two meanings of a church and the Lord's supper. 
For the former they quote among other authorities, a 
canon of the council of Neo Cesarea. For the latter 
meaning they quote Cyj)rian, and refer also to St. Augus- 
tine's account of his conference with the Donatists, in 
which allusion is made to the narrative of the martyrdom 
of Saturninus." 

iXote by Domville. ^^ Dominicum is not, as may at first be 
supposed, an adjective, of which diim [day] is the understood 
substantive. It is itself a substantive, neuter as appears from 
the passage, ' Quia non potest interynitti Dominicum,^ in the nar- 
rative respecting Saturninus. The Latin adjective Dominicus, 
when intended to refer to the Lord's day, is never, 1 believe, 
used without its substantive dies [day] being expressed. In all 
the narratives contained in Ruinart' s Acta iTartijrtim, I find but 
two instances of mention being made of the Lord's day, and in 
both these instances the substantive dies [day] is expressed." 

2 This testimony is certainly decisive. It is the intepretation 
of the compiler of the Acta Martyrum, himself, and is given with 
direct reference to the particular instance under discussion. An 
independent confirmation of Domville' s authorities, maybe found 
in Lucius's Eccl. Hist., cent. 4, chap, vi.: "Fit mentio aliquoties 
locorum istorum in quibus convenerint Christiani, in historia 
persecutionis sub Diocletiano & Maximino. Et apparet, ante 
Constantinum etiam, locos eos fuisse mediocriter exstructos atque 
exornatos : quos seu Templa appellarunt seu Dominica; ut apud 
Eusebium (li. 9. c. 10) & Rufiinum (li. 1, c. 3)." 

It is certain that Dominicum is here used as designating a place 
of divine worship. Dr. Tvvisse in his "Morality of the Fourth 
Commandment," p. 122, says: "The ancient fathers, both Greek 
and Latin, called temples by the name of dominica and KvoiaKci." 

3 Domville cites St. Augustine's Works, voL v. pp. IIG, 117, 
Antwerp ed. a. d. 1700. 


''3. Gesner, who, in his Latin Thesaurus published in 
1749, gives 1)oth meanings to the word Dominicum. For 
that of the Lord's supper he quotes Cyprian ; for that of 
a clmrch he quotes Cyprian and also Hillary."^ 

Domville states other facts of interest bearing 
on this point, and then pays his respects to Mr. 
Gurney as follows : — 

''It thus appearing that the reference made by Bishop 
Andrews to the ' Acts of Martyrs ' completely fails to es- 
tablish his dictum respecting the question alleged to have 
been put to the martyrs, and it also appearing that there 
existed strong and obvious reasons for not placing im- 
plicit reliance upon that dictum, what are we to think of 
Mr. Gurney's regard for truth, when we find he does not 
scruple to tell his readers that the ' stated day ' mentioned 
in Pliny's letter as that on which the Christians held their 
religious assemblies, was ' clearly the first day of the 
week,' is proved by the very question which it was cus- 
tomary for the Roman persecutors to address to the mar- 
tyrs, Dominicum servasti ? — ' Hast thou kept the Lord's 
day ?' For this unqualified assertion, prefixed as it is by 
the word ' clearly,' in order to make it the more impress- 
ive, Mr. Gurney is without any excuse."^ 

The justice of Domville's language cannot be 
questioned when he characterizes this favorite 
tirst-day argument as — 

' ' One of those daring misstatements of facts so frequent 
in theological writings, and which, from the confident tone 
so generally assumed by the writers on such occasions, 
are usually received without examination, and allowed, 
in consequence, to pass current for truth. "^ 

The investigation to which this statement has 
been subjected, shows, 1. That no such question 
as, Hast thou kept the Lord's day ? is upon record 
as proposed to the martyrs in the time of Plin}?". 

1 Examination of the Six Texts, pp. 207, 2G8. 

2 Id. i>p. 270, 271. 
^ad. pp. 272, 27S. 


2. That no such question was asked to any mar- 
tyr prior to the commencement of the fourth 
century. 3. That a single instance of martyr- 
dom in which any question of the kind was asked, 
is ail that can be claimed. 4. That in this one 
case, which is all that has even the slightest ap- 
pearance of sustaining the story under examina- 
tion, a correct translation of the original Latin 
shows that the question had no relation whatever 
to the observance of Sunday ! All this has been 
upon the assumption that the Acta Martyrum, in 
which this story is found, is an authentic work. 
Let Mosheim testify relative to the character of 
this work for veracity : — 

"As to tliose accounts wliich have come down to lis 
under the title of Acta Martyimm, or, the Acts of the 
Martyrs, their authority is certainly for the most part 
of a very questionable nature ; indeed, speaking gener- 
ally, it might be coming nearer to the truth, perhaps, 
were we to say that they are entitled to no sort of credit 
w^hatever." ^ 

Such is the authority of the work from which 
this story is taken. It is not strange that first- 
day historians should leave the repetition of it to 

Such are the facts respecting tliis extraordinary 
falsehood. They constitute so complete an ex- 
posure of this famous historical argument for 
Sunday as to consign it to the just contempt of 
all honest men. But this is too valuable an ar- 
gument to be lightly surrendered, and moreover 
it is as truthful as are certain other of the his- 
torical arguments for Sunday. It will not do to 
give up this argument because of its dishonesty ; 

1 Historical Commentaries, cent. ], sect, xxxii. 
Sabbath History. ±r 


for others will have to go with it for possessing 
the same character. 

Since the publication of Domville's elaborate 
work, James Gilfillan of Scotland has written a 
large volume entitled, " The Sabbath," which has 
been extensively circulated both in Europe and 
in America, and is esteemed a standard work by 
the American Tract Society and by first-day de- 
nominations in general. Gilfillan had read Dom- 
ville as appears from his statements on pages 10, 
142, 143, GIG, of his volume. He was therefore 
acquainted with Domville's exposure of the fraud 
respecting " Dominicum servasti r But though 
he was acquainted with this exposure, he offers 
not one word in reply. On the contrary, he re- 
peats the story with as much assurance as tliough 
it had not been proved a falsehood. But as 
Domville had shown up the matter from the 
Acta Marty rum, it was necessary for Gilfillan to 
trace it to some other authority, and so he assigns 
it to Cardinal Baronius. Here are Gilfillan's 
words : — 

"From the days of the apostles downvrards for many- 
years, the followers of Christ had no enemies more fierce 
and unrelenting than that people [the Jews], who cursed 
them in the synagogue, sent out emissaries into all coun- 
tries to calumniate their Master and them, and vrere abet- 
tors wherever they could, of the martyrdom of men, such 
as Polycarp, of whom the world was not worthy. Among 
the reasons of this deadly enmity was the change of the 
Sabbatic day. The Romans, though they had no objec- 
tion on this score, punished the Christians for the faithful 
observance of their day of rest, one of the testing ques- 
tions put to the martyrs being, Dominicum servasti'/ — 
Have you kept the Lord's day ? — Baron. An. JEccles. , a. d. 
303, Num. 35, etc."' 

^The Sabbath, by James Gilfillan, p. vii. 


Gilfillan having reproduced tliis statement and 
assigned as his authority the annalist Baronius, 
more recent first-day writers take courage and 
repeat the story after him. Now they are all 
right, as they think. What if the Acta Mar- 
tyrum has failed them ? Domville ought to have 
gone to Baronius, who, in their judgment, is the 
true source of information in this matter. Had he 
done this, they say, he would have been saved 
from misleading his readers. But let us ascertain 
what evil Domville has done in this case. It all 
consists in the assertion of two things out of the 
Acta Martyriim} 

1. That no such question as " Doif)iinicuni ser- 
vasti ? " was addressed to any martyr till the 
early part of the fourth century, some two hun- 
dred years after the time of Pliny. 

2. That the question even then did not relate 
to v/hat is called the Lord's day, but to the Lord's 

Now it is a remarkable fact that Gilfillan has 
virtually admitted the truth of the first of these 
statements, for the earliest instance which he 
could find in Baronius is A. D. 303, as his refer- 

iTo break the force of Domville's statement in which he ex- 
poses the story originally told by Bishop Andrews as coming from 
the Acta Martyriim, it is said that Domville used Ruinart's Acta- 
Martyrmn, and that Ruinart was not born lill thirty-one years 
after Bishop Andrews' death, so that Domville did not go to the 
same book that was used by the bishop, and therefore failed to 
liud what he found. Those who raise this point betray their ig- 
norance or expose their dishonesty. The Acta Marty rum is a 
collection of the memoirs of the martyrs, written by their friends 
from age to age. Ruinart did not write a new work, but simply 
edited "the most valued collection" of these memoirs that has 
ever appeared. See McClintoek and Strong's Cyclopedia, vol. 
i. pp. 56, 67. Domville used Ruinart's edition, because, as he 
expresses it, it is "the most complete collection of the memoirs 
and legends still extant, relative to the lives and sufferings of 
the Christian martyrs." Domville's use of Ruinart was, therelfbre, 
in the highest degree just and right. 

252 HISTORY OF the sabbath. 

ence plainly shows. It differs only one year from 
the date assigned in Ruinart's AcUt Martyrum, 
and relates to the very case which Domville has 
quoted from that work ! Domville's first and 
most important statement is therefore vindicated 
by Gilfillan himself, though he has not the frank- 
ness to say this in so many words. 

Domville's second point is that Dominicinn, 
when used as a noun, as in the present case, sig- 
nifies either a church or the Lord's supper, but 
never signifies Lord's day. He establishes the 
fact by incontestible evidence. Gilfillan was ac- 
quainted with all this. He could not answer 
Domville, and yet he was not willing to abandon 
the falsehood which Domville had exposed. So 
he turns from the Acta Martyruin in which the 
compiler expressly defines the word to mean 
precisely what Domville asserts, and brings for- 
ward the great Romish annalist, Cardinal Baro- 
nius. Now, say our first-day friends, we are to 
have the truth from a high authority. Gilfillan 
has found in Baronius an express statement that 
the martyrs were tested by the question, " Have 
you kept the Lord's day ? " No matter then as 
to the Acta Marty rum from which Bishop An- 
drews first produced this story. That, indeed, 
has foiled us, but we have in its stead the weighty 
testimony of the great Baronius. To be sure he fixes 
this test no earlier than the fourth century, which 
renders it of no avail as proof that Pliny's stated 
day was Sunday ; but it is worth much to have 
Baronius bear witness that certain martyrs in 
the fourth century were put to death because 
they observed the Sunday-Lord's day. 

But these exultant thoughts are vain. I must 
>state a grave fact in plain lang«.iage : Gilfillan has 


deliberately falsified tlie testimony of Baronius ! 
That historian records at length the martyrdom 
of Saturninus and his company in northern 
Africa in A. D. 303. It is the very story which 
Domville has cited from the Acta Martyrum, and 
Baronius repeatedly indicates that he himself 
copied it from that work. He gives the various 
questions propounded by the proconsul, and the 
several answers which were returned by each of 
the martyrs. I copy from Baronius the most im- 
portant of these. They were arrested while they 
were celebrating the Lord's sacrament according 
to custom.^ The following is the charge on which 
they were arrested : They had celebrated the 
Collectani Bominicani against the command of 
the emperors." The proconsul asked the first 
whether he had celebrated the Collectam, and he 
replied that he was a Christian, and had done 
this.^ Another says, " I have not only been in 
the CoUecta, but I have celebrated the Domiiiicum 
with the brethren because I am a Christian."* 
Another says we have celebrated the Domi7iicu7}i,_ 
because the Dorainicuin cannot be neglected."^ 
Another said that the CoUecta was made (or ob- 
served) at his house.^ The proconsul questioning 
again one of those already examined, received 

ilbique celebrantes ex more Dominica Sacramenta. — Baron- 
ius, Tome 3, p. 348, a. d. 303, No. xxxvi. Liicse, a. d. 1738. 

2 Qui contra edictum Impei'atorum, & Cyesarum Collectam 
Dominicam celebrassent. — Baronius, Tome 3, p, 348, a. d. 303, 
No. xxxix. ♦ 

3 Utrum Collectam fecisset. Qui cum se Christianum, & in 
CoUecta fuisse profiteretur. — Id. lb. 

4 Nam & in CoUecta fui, & Dominicum cum fratribus celebravi, 
quia Christiana sum. — Id. No. xliii. p. 344. This was spoken by 
a female martyr. 

s Dominicum celebraAimus. Proconsul ait: Qaure? respondit : 
Quia non potest interraitti Dominicum. — Id. No. xlvi. p. 3.50. 
« In cujus dome CoUecta facta fuit. — Id. No. xlvii. p. 850. 


this answer : " The Dominicuin cannot be disre- 
garded, the law so commands."^ When one was 
asked whether the Collecta was made (or ob- 
served) at his house, he answered, " In my house 
we have celebrated the Dominicum." He added, 
" Without the Domiuicum we cannot be," or live.^ 
To another, the proconsul said that he did not 
wish to know whether he was a Christian, but 
whether he participated in the Collecta. His 
reply was : " As if one could be a Christian with- 
out 4he Dominicuin, or as if the Dominicuin can 
be celebrated without the Christian." ^ And he 
said further to the proconsul: "We have ob- 
served the Collectct most sacredly ; we have al- 
ways convened in the Dominicuin for reading the 
Lord's word." ^ Another said: "I have been in 
[literally, have made] the Collecta with my 
brethren, I have celebrated the Dominicuin."^ 
After him another proclaimed the Dominicuin to 
be the hope and safety of the Christian, and when 
tortured as the others, he exclaimed, " I have cele- 
brated the Dominicuin with a devoted heart, and 
with my brethren I have made the Collecta because 
I am a Christian." * When the proconsul again 

^Intermitti Dominicum non potest, ait. Lex sic jubet. — M. 
No. xlvii. p. 350. 

2 In tua, inquit proconsul, domo CoUectse factie sunt, contra 
praeccpta Imperatorum ? Cui Emeritus saucto Spiritu inundatus : 
In domo mea, inquit, egimus Dominicum. . . . Quoniam sine 
Domjnico esse non possumus. — Id. No. xlix. pp. 350, 351. 

3 Non quaero an Christianus sis sed an Collcctam feceris. . . . 
Quasi Cliristianus sine Dominico esse possit. — Id. No. li. p. 351. 

•• Collectam, inquit, religiosissime celebravimus ; ad scripturas 
Dominicas legendas in Dominicum convenimus semper. — Id. lb. 
p. 351. 

^ Cum fratribus feci Collectam, Dominicum celcbravi, — Id. No. 

Hi. p. 351. 
"Post qu( 

^ lem junior Felix, spcm salutemque Christianorum 
Dominicum esse proclamans. . . . Ego, inquit, dcvota mi-nta cel- 
cbravi Dominicum ; collcctam cum fratribus loci, quia Christianus 
sum.— /</. liii. 


asked one of these whether he had conducted the 
Bominicum, he replied that he had because Christ 
was his Saviour.^ . 

I have thus given the substance of this famous 
examination, and have set before the reader the 
references therein made to the Domiinicum. It 
is to be observed that CoUecta is used as another 
name for Domiinicum. Now does Baronius use 
either of these words to signify Lord's day ? It 
so happens that he has defined these words with 
direct reference to this very case no less than 
seven times. Now let us read these seven defini- 
tions : — 

When Baronius records the first question ad- 
dressed to these martycs, he there defines these 
words as follows : " By the words CoUedavi, CgI- 
lectionem, and Boininicuon, the author always 
understands the sacrifice of the Mass."^ After 
recording the words of that martyr who said that 
the law commanded the observance of the Do- 
minicum, Baronius defines his statement thus : 
" Evidently the Christian law concerning the Do- 
"minicum, no doubt about celebrating the sacri- 
fice."^ Baronius, b}^ the Romish words sacrifice 
and Mass refers to the celebration of the Lord's 
supper by these martyrs. At the conclusion of 
the examination, he again defines the celebration 
of the Dominicum. He says : " It has been 
shown above in relating these things that the 
Christians were moved, even in the time of se- 

lUtrura egeris Dominicum. Ciii respondit Satiirniaus : Egi 
Domiuicvim, quia Salvator est Christus. — Id. Id. p. 352. 

2 Per Collectam namque, and Collectionem, and Dominicum, in- 
tellegit semper auctor sacrificium Misscc. — baronius, Tovie 3, 
A. p. 303, No. xxxix. p. 348. 

3 Scilicet lex Christiana de Dominico, nempe sacrificio cclebrau- 
do.— /c/. No. xlvii. p. 350. 


vere persecution, to celebrate tlie Dominicuni. 
Evidently, as we have declared elsewhere in many 
places, it was a sacrifice without bloodshed, and 
of divine appointment/'^ He presently defines 
Dominicum again, saying, " Though it is a fact 
that the same expression was employed at times 
with reference to the temple of God, yet since all 
the churches upon the earth have united in this 
matter, and from other things related above, it 
has been sufficiently shown concerning the cele- 
bration of the Dominicmn, that only the sacrifice 
of the Mass can he understood''^ Observe this 
last statement. He says though the word has 
been employed to designate the temple of the 
Lord, yet in the things here related it can only 
signify the sacrifice of the Mass. These testimo- 
nies are exceedingly explicit. But Baronius has 
not yet finished. In the index to Tome 3, he 
explains these words again with direct reference 
to this very martyrdom. Thus under Collecta is 
this statement : " The Collecta, the Dominicuni, 
the Mass, the same [A. D.] 303, xxxix."^ Under 
Missa : " The Mass is the same as the Collecta, or 
Dominicuni [a. d.], 303, xxxix."* Under Domin- 
icuni : " To celebrate the Dominicum is the same 

1 De celebratione Dominici; Quod autera superius in recitatis 
actis sit demonstratum, flagrantis persecutionis etiain tempore 
solicitos fuisse Christianos celebrare Dominicura, nempe (ut alias 
pluribus declararimus) ipsum sacrosanctum sacrificium incrueu- 
tum. — Id. No. Ixxxiii. p, 358. 

'^ Quod etsi sciamus eamdem vocem pro Dei templo interdum 
accipi solitam ; tamen quod ccclesiai omncs solo a^quatfc fuissent; 
ex aliis superius recitatis de celebratione Dominici, nonisi sacri- 
ficium missje posse intellioro, satis est declaratum. — /(/. Ixxxiv. 
p. 359. 

3 Collecta, Dominicum, Missa, idem, 303, xxxix. p. 677. 

4 Missa idem quod Collecta, sive Dominicum, 803, xxxix. p. 702. 


as to conduct the Mass [a. d.], 303, xxxix. ; xlix. ; 

It i» not possible to mistake the meaning of 
Baronius. He says that Doininicuin signifies 
the Mass ! The celebration of the supper by 
these martyrs was doubtless very different from 
the pompous ceremony which the church of 
Rome now observes under the name of Mass. 
But it was the sacrament of the Lord's supper, 
concerning which they were tested, and for ob- 
serving which they were put to a cruel death. 
The word Dominicum signifies " the sacred mys- 
teries,'' as Ruinart defines it ; and Baronius, in 
seven times affirminor this definition, thouo^h ac- 
knowleclo^ino^ that it has sometimes been used to 
signify temple of God, plainly declares that in 
this record, it can have oio other ^meaning than 
that service which the Romanists call the sacri- 
fice of the Mass. GilfiUan had read all this, yet 
he dares to quote Baronius as saying that these 
martyrs were tested by the question, " Have you 
kept Lord's day ?" He could not but know that 
he was writing a direct falsehood; but he thought 
the honor of God, and the advancement of the 
cause of truth, demanded this act at his hands. 

Before Gilfillan wrote his work, Domville had 
called attention to the fact that the sentence, 
" Bonhinicum servasti V does not occur in the 
Acta Martyrum, a different verb being used ev- 
ery time. But this is the popular form of this 
question, and must not be given up. So Gilfillan 
declares that Baronius uses it in his record of the 
martyrdoms in A. D. 303. But we have cited 

1 Dominicum celebrare idem quod Missas agere, 303, xxxix. 
xlix. ; li. p. 684. 


the different forms of question recorded by Baro- 
nius, and find them to be precisely the same with 
those of the Acta Martyrum. " Dominicum ser- 
vasti r does not occur in that historian, ana Gil- 
fillan, in stating that it does, is guilty of untruth. 
This, however, is comparatively unimportant. But 
for asserting that Baronius speaks of Lord's day 
under the name of Dominicmn, GilfiUan stands 
convicted of inexcusable falsehood in matters of 
serious importance. 



Sunday a heathen festival from remote antiquity — Origin of 
the name — Reasons which induced the leaders of the 
church to adopt this festival — It was the day generally 
observed by the Gentiles in the first centuries of the 
Christian era — To have taken a different day would have 
been exceedingly inconvenient — They hoped to facilitate 
the conversion of the Gentiles by keeping the same day 
that they observed — Three voluntary weekly festivals in 
the church in memory of the Redeemer — Sunday soon ele- 
vated above the other two — Justin Martyr — Sunday ob- 
servance iirst found in the church of Rome — Irennous — 
First act of papal usurpation was in behalf of Sunday — 
TertuUian — Earliest trace of abstinence from labor on 
Sunday — General statement of facts — Tlie Roman church 
made its first great attack upon the Sabbath by turning it 
into a fast. 

The festival of Sunday is more ancient than 
the Christian religion, its origin being lost in re- 
mote antiquity. It did not originate, however, 
from any divine command nor from piety toward 
God : on the contrary, it was set apart as a sa- 
cred day by the heathen world in honor of their 


chief god, the sun. It is from this fact that the 
first day of the week has obtained the name of 
Sunday, a name by which it is known in many 
lanoruasres. Webster thus defines the word : — 

"Sunday; so called because this day was anciently 
dedicated to the sun or to its worship. The first day of 
the week ; the Christian Sabbath ; a day consecrated to 
rest from secular employments, and to religious worship ; 
the Lord's day." 

And Worcester, in his large dictionary, uses 
similar lanomacre : — 

" Sunday ; so named because anciently dedicated to the 
sun or to its worship. The first day of the week ; the 
Christian Sabbath, consecrated to rest from labor and to 
religious worship; the Lord's day." 

These lexicographers call Sunday the Christian 
Sabbath, etc., because in the general theological 
literature of our language, it is thus designated, 
though never thus in the Bible. Lexicographers 
do not undertake to settle theological questions, 
but simply to define terms as currently used in a 
particular language. Though all the other days 
of the week have heathen names, Sunday alone 
v/as a conspicuous heathen festival in the days of 
the early church. The North British Review, in 
a labored attempt to justify the observance of 
Sunday by the Christian world, styles that day, 
" The v/ild solae holiday [i. <?., festival in hon- 
or of the sun] OF ALL pagan times."^ 

Yerstegan says : — 

" The most ancient Germans being pagans, and having 
apiDropriated their first day of the week to the peculiar 
adoration of the sun, whereof that day doth yet in our 
English tongue retain the name of Sunday, and aj^propri- 
ated the next day unto it unto the especial adoration of 

1 Vol. xviii. p. 40?. 


the moon, whereof it yet retaineth with us, the name of 
Monday ; they ordained the next day to these most heav- 
enly planets to the particular adoration of their great re- 
puted god, Tuisco, whereof we do yet retain in our lan- 
guage the name of Tuesday."^ 

The same author thus speaks concerning the 
idols of our Saxon ancestors : — 

"Of these, though they had many, yet seven among 
the rest they especially approjDriated unto the seven days 

of the week Unto the day dedicated unto 

the especial adoration of the idol of the smi, they gave 
the name of Sunday, as much as to say the sun's day or 
the day of the sun. This idol was placed in a temple, 
and there adored and sacrificed unto, for that they be- 
lieved that the sun in the firmament did with or in this 
idol correspond and co-oj)erate. " ^ 

Jennings makes this adoration of the sun more 
ancient than the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. 
For, in speaking of the time of that deliverance, 
he speaks of the Gentiles as, 

'' Tlie idolatrous nations who in honor to their chief 
god, the sun, began their day at his rising."^ 

He represents them also as setting apart Sun- 
day in honor of the same object of adoration : — 

' ' The day which the heathens in general consecrated 
to the worship and honor of their chief god, the sun, 
which, according to our computation, was the first day of 
the week."* 

The NoHh British Revieiv thus defends the in- 
troduction of this ancient heathen festival into 
the Christian church : — 

' Verstegan's Antiquities, p. 10, London, 162S. 

2 Antiquities, p. G8. 

3 Jewish Antiquities, book iii. chap. i. See also McCIintock and 
Strong's Cyclopedia, 4,472, article Idolatrv; Dr. A. Clarke on 
Job 31 :26; and Dr. Gill on the same ; Webster under the word 
Sabianism, and Worcester, under Sabian. 

* Id. book iii. chap. iii. 


' ' That very day was the Sunday of their heathen neigh- 
bors and respective countrymen ; and patriotism gladly 
united with expediency in making it at once their Lord's 

day and their Sabbath If the authority of the 

church is to be ignored altogether by Protestants, there 
is no matter ; because opportunity and common expedi- 
ency are surely argument enough for so ceremonial a 
change as the mere day of the week for the observance 
of the rest and holy convocation of the Jewish Sabbath. 
That primitive church, in fact, was shut up to the adop- 
tion of the Sunday, until it became established and su- 
preme, when it was too late to make another alteration ; 
and it was no irreverent nor undelightful thing to adopt 
it, inasmuch as the first day of the week was their own 
high day at any rate ; so that their compliance and civil- 
ity were rewarded by the redoubled sanctity of their quiet 

It would seem that sometliing more potent than 
" patriotism " and " expediency " would be requi- 
site to transform this heathen festival into the 
Christian Sabbath, or even to justify its introduc- 
tion into the Christian church. A further state- 
ment of the reasons which prompted its introduc- 
tion, and a brief notice of the earlier steps toward 
transforming it into a Christian institution, will oc- 
cupy the remainder of this chapter. Chafie, a cler- 
gyman of the English Church, in 1652, published a 
work in vindication of first-day observance, en- 
titled, " The Seventh-day Sabbath." After show- 
ing the general observance of Sunday by the hea- 
then world in the early ages of the church, Chafie 
thus states the reasons which forbid the Chris- 
tians attempting to keep any other day : — 

'^ 1. Because of the contempt, scorn, and derision they 
thereby should be had in, among all the Gentiles with 
whom they lived, . . . How grievous would be their 
taunts and reproaches against the poor Christians living 
T>^ith them and under their power for their new set sacred 

1 Vol. xviii. p. 409. 


day, had the Christians chosen any other than the Sun- 
day. ... 2. Most Christians then were either serv- 
ants or of the poorer sort of people ; and the Gentiles, 
most probably, would not give their servants liberty to 
cease from working on any other set day constantly, ex- 
cept on their Sunday. ... 3. Because had they as- 
sayed such a change it Avould have been but labor in 
vain; . . . they could never have brought it to pass. " ^ 

Thus it is seen that at the time when the early 
church began to apostatize from God and to fos- 
ter in its bosom human ordinances, the heathen 
world — as they had long done — very generally 
observed the first day of the week in honor of 
the sun. Many of the early fathers of the church 
had been heathen philosophers. Unfortunately 
they brought with them into the church many 
(3f their old notions and principles. Particu- 
larly did it occur to them that by uniting with 
the heathen in the day of weekly celebration 
they should greatly facilitate their conversion. 
The reasons which induced the church to adopt 
the ancient festival of the heathen as something 
made ready to hand, are thus stated by Morer : — 

^' It is not to be denied but we borrow the name of this 
day from the ancient Greeks and Romans, and we allow 
that the old Egyptians worshiped the sun, and as a stand- 
ing memorial of their veneration, dedicated this day to 
him. And we find by the influence of their examples, 
other nations, and among them the Jews themselves, do- 
ing him homage ; ■ yet these abuses did not hinder the 
fathers of the Cliristian church simply to repeal, or alto- 
gether lay by, the day or its name, but only to sanctify 
and improve both, as they did also the pagan temples 
polluted before with idolatrous services, and other in- 
stances wherein those good men Avere always tender to 
work any other change than what was evidently neces- 
sary, and in such things as were plainly inconsistent with 

iPp. Gl, 62. 

2 2 Kiiiirs 23 :5; .Tor. 

43 : 13, marorin. 


the Christian religion ; so that Sunday being the day on 
which the Gentiles solemnly adored that lolanet, and 
called it Sunday, partly from its influence on that day 
especially, and partly in respect to its divine body (as 
they conceived it), the Christians thought fit to keep the 
same day and the same name of it, that they might not 
appear causelessly peevish, and by that means hinder the 
conversion of the Gentiles, and bring a greater prejudice 
than might be otherwise taken against the gospel."^ 

In the time of Justin Martyr, Sunday was a 
weekly festival, widely celebrated by the heathen 
in honor of their god, the sun. And so, in pre- 
senting to the heathen emperor of Rome an 
" Apology " for his brethren, Justin takes care to 
tell him thrice that the Christians held their as- 
semblies on this day of general observance.^ 
Sunday therefore makes its first appearance in 
the Christian church as an institution identical 
in time with the weekly festival of the heathen, 
and Justin, who first mentions this festival, had 
been a heathen philosopher. Sixty years later, 
TertuUian acknowledges that it was not without 
an appearance of truth that men declared the 
sun to be the god of the Christians. But he an- 
swered that though they worshiped toward the 
east like the heathen, and devoted Sunday to re- 
joicing, it was for a reason far different from sun- 
worship.^ And on another occasion, in defending 
his brethren from the charge of sun-worship, he 
acknowledges that these acts, prayer toward the 
east, and making Sunday a day of festivity, did 
give men a chance to think the sun was the God 
of the Christians.* TertuUian is therefore a wit- 

1 Dialogues on the Lord's day, pp. 22, 23. 

2 Apology, chap. Ixvii.; Testimony of the Fathers, pp. 34, 35. 

3 Apology, sect. 16 ; Testimony of the Fathers, pp. 64, 65. 

"i Ad Nationes, book i. chap, xiii.; Testimony of the Fathers, p. 7^. 


ness to the fact that Sunday was a heathen festi- 
val when it obtained a foothold in the Christian 
church, and that the Christians, in consequence of 
observing it, were taunted with being sun- wor- 
shipers. It is remarkable that in his replies 
he never claims for their observance any di- 
vine precept or apostolic example. His princi- 
pal point was that they had as good a right to do 
it as the heathen had. One hundred and twenty 
one years after Tertullian, Constantine, while yet 
a heathen, put forth his famous edict in behalf of 
the heathen festival of the sun, which day he 
pronounced " venerable." And this heathen law 
caused the day to be observed everywhere 
throughout the Koman Empire, and firmly estab- 
lished it both in Church and State. It is certain, 
therefore, that at the time of its entrance into 
the Christian church, Sunday was an ancient 
weekly festival of the heathen world. 

That this heathen festival was upon the day of 
Christ's resurrection doubtless powerfully contrib- 
uted to aid " patriotism " and " expediency " in 
transforming it into the Lord's day or Christian 
Sabbath. For, with pious motives, as we may 
reasonably conclude, the professed peo})le of God 
early paid a voluntary regard to several days, 
memorable in the history of the Redeemer. Mo- 
sheim, whose testimony in behalf of Sunday has 
been presented already, uses the following lan- 
guage relative to the crucifixion day : — 

"It is also probable that Fridaj'-, the day of Christ's 
crucifixion, was early distinguished by particular honors 
from the other days of the week."^ 

And of the second century, he says : — 

lEccl. Hist., cent. 1, part ii. chap. iv. note X to sect. i. 


' ' Many also observed the fourth day of the week, on 
which Christ was betrayed ; and the sixth, which was the 
day of his crucifixion."^ 

Dr. Peter Heylyn says of those who chose 
Sunday : — 

''Because our Saviour rose that day from amongst the 
dead, so chose they Friday for another, by reason of our 
Sa^dour's passion ; and Wednesday on the which he had 
been betrayed : the Saturday, or ancient Sabbath, being 
meanwhile retained in the eastern churches."' 

Of the comparative sacredness of these three 
voluntary festivals, the same writer testifies : — 

" If we consider either the preaching of the word, the 
ministration of the sacraments, or the public prayers : the 
Sunday in the eastern cluirches had no great prerogative 
above other days, especially above the Wednesday and 
the Friday, save that the meetings were more solemn, 
and the concourse of people greater than at other times, 
as is most likely."^ 

And besides these three weekly festivals, there 
were also two annual festivals of great sacred- 
ness. These were the Passover and the Pente- 
cost. And it is worthy of special notice that al- 
though the Sunday festival can be traced no 
higher in the church than Justin Martyr, A. D. 
140, the Passover can be traced to a man who 
claimed to have received it from the apostles. 
See chapter thirteen. Among these festivals, 
considered simply as voluntary memorials of the 
Redeemer, Sunday had very little pre-eminence. 
For it is well stated by Heylyn : — 

''Take which you will, either the fathers or the mod- 
ems, and we shall find no Lord's day instituted by any 

1 Eccl. Hist. cent. 2, part. ii. chap. 1. sect. 12. 

^History of the Sabbath, part ii. chap. i. sect. 12. 
3 Id. part ii. chap. iii. sect. i. 

Sabbath nistory. X8 


apostolical mandate ; no Sabbath set on foot by them up- 
on the first day of the week. " ^ 

Domville bears the following testimony, which 
is worthy of lasting remembrance : — 

" Not any ecclesiastical writer of the first three centu- 
ries attributed the origin of Sunday observance either to 
Christ or to his apostles. " " 

"Patriotism " and "expediency," however, ere- 
long elevated immeasurably above its fellows that 
one of these voluntary festivals which correspond- 
ed to " the wild solar holiday " of the heathen 
world, making that day at last " the Lord's day " 
of the Christian church. The earliest testimony 
in behalf of first-day observance that has any 
claim to be regarded as genuine is that of Justin 
Martyr, written about A. D. 140. Before his con- 
version, he was a heathen philosopher. The time, 
place, and occasion of his first Apology or Defense 
of the Christians, addressed to the Roman Em- 
peror, is thus stated by an eminent Roman Cath- 
olic historian. He says that Justin Martyr 

'^ Was at Rome when the persecution that was raised 
under the reign of Antoninus Pius, the successor of Adrian, 
began to break forth, where he composed an excellent 
apology in behalf of the Christians. " ^ 

Of the works ascribed to Justin Martyr, Mil- 

ner says : — 

" Like many of the ancient fathers he appears to us un- 
der the greatest disadvantage. Works really his have 
been lost ; and others have been ascribed to him, part of 
which are not his ; and the rest, at least, of ambiguous 

1 Hist, of the Sabbath, part ii. chap. i. sect. 10. 

3 Examination of the Six Texts, Supplement, pp. 6, 7. 

sDu Pin's Eccl. Hist. vol. i. p. 50. 

*Hist. Church, cent. 2, chap. iii. 


If the wi'itings ascribed to him are genuine, 
there is little propriety in the use made of his 
name by the advocates of the first-day Sabbath. 
He taught the abrogation of the Sabbatic institu- 
tion ; and there is no intimation in his words that 
the Sunday festival which he mentions was oth- 
er than a voluntary observance. Thus he ad- 
dresses the emperor of Rome : — 

"And upon the day called Sunday, all that live either 
in city or country meet together at the same place, where 
the writings of the apostles and prophets are read, as 
much as time will give leave ; when the reader has done, 
the bishop makes a sermon, wherein he instructs the peo- 
ple, and animates them to the practice of such lovely pre- 
cepts : at the conclusion of this discourse, we all rise up 
together and pray ; and prayers being over, as I now said, 
there is bread and wine and water offered, and the bish- 
op, as before, sends up prayers and thanksgivings, with 
all the fervency he is able, and the people conclude all 
with the joyful acclamation of Amen. Then the conse- 
crated elements are distributed to, and partaken of, by 
all that are j)resent, and sent to the absent by the hands 
of the deacons. But the wealthy and the willing, for ev- 
ery one is at liberty, contribute as they think fitting; 
and this collection is deposited with the bishop, and out 
of this he relieves the orphan and the widow, and such as 
are reduced to want by sickness or any other cause, and 
such as are in bonds, and strangers that come from far ; 
and, in a word, he is the guardian and almoner to all the 
indigent. Upon Sunday we all assemble, that being the 
first day in which God set himself to work upon the dark 
void, in order to make the world, and in which Jesus 
Christ our Saviour rose again from the dead ; for the day 
before Saturday he was crucified, and the day after, 
which is Sunday, he appeared unto his apostles and dis- 
ciples, and taught them what I have now proposed to 
your consideration. " ^ 

This passage, if genuine, furnishes the earliest 

1 Justin Martyr's First Apology, translated by Wm. Reeves, 

p. 127, sects. 87, 88, 89. 

268 HISTORY OF the sabbath. 

reference to the observance of Sunday as a relig- 
ious festival in the Christian church. It should 
be remembered that this language was written at 
Kome, and addressed directly to the emperor. It 
shows therefore what was the practice of the 
church in that city and vicinity, but does not de- 
termine how extensive this observance was. It 
contains strong incidental proof that apostasy 
had made progress at Rome ; the institution of 
the Lord's supper being changed in part already 
to a human ordinance ; water being now as es- 
sential to the Lord's supper as the wine or the 
bread. And what is still more dangerous as per- 
verting the institution of Christ, the consecrated 
elements were sent to the absent, a step which 
speedily resulted in their becoming objects of su-. 
perstitious veneration, a^nd finally of worship. 
Justin tells the emperor that Christ thus or- 
dained ; but such a statement is a grave depart- 
ure from the truth of the New Testament. 

This statement of reasons for Sunday observ- 
ance is particularly worthy of attention. He tells 
the emperor that they assembled upon the day 
called Sunday. This was equivalent to saying 
to him. We observe the day on which our fellow- 
citizens offer their adoration to the sun. Here 
both " patriotism " and " expediency " discover 
themselves in the words of Justin, which were 
addressed to a persecuting emperor in behalf of 
the Christians. But as if conscious that the ob- 
servance of a heathen festival as the day of Chris- 
tian worship was not consistent with their pro- 
fession as worshipers of the Most High, Justin 
bethinks himself for reasons in defense of this ob- 
servance. He assigns no divine precept nor apos- 
tolic example for this festival. For his reference 


to what Christ taught his disciples, as appears 
from the connection, was to the general system 
of the Christian religion, and not to the observ- 
ance of Sunday. If it be said that Justin might 
have learned from tradition what is not to be 
found in the New Testament relative to Sunday 
observance, and that after all Sunday may be a 
divinely-appointed festival, it is sufficient to an- 
swer, 1. That this plea would show only tradi- 
tion in favor of the Sunday festival. 2. That 
Justin Martyr is a very unsafe guide ; his testi- 
mony relative to the Lord's supper differs from 
that of the New Testament. 3. That the Amer- 
ican Tract Society, in a work which it publishes 
acrainst Romanism, bears the folio winor testimo- 
ny relative to the point before us : — 

^^ Justin Martyr appears indeed peculiarly unfitted to 
lay claim to authority. It is notorious that he supposed 
a pillar erected on the island of the Tiber to Semo San- 
chus, an old Sabine deity, to be a monument erected by 
the Roman people in honor of the impostor Simon Magus. 
Were so gross a mistake to be made by a modem writer 
in relating a historical fact, exposiure would immediately 
take place, and his testimony would thenceforward be 
suspected. And assuredly the same measure should be 
meted to Justin Martyr, who so egregiously errs in refer- 
ence to a fact alluded to by Livy the historian." ^ 

Justin assigns the following reasons in support 
of Sunday observance : " That being the first day 
in which God set himself to work upon the dark 
void in order to make the world, and in which 
Jesus Christ our Saviour rose again from the 
dead." Bishop Jeremy Taylor most fittingly re- 
plies to this : — 

" The first of these looks more like an excuse than a 
just reason ; for if anything of the creation were made the 

1 The Spirit of Popery, pp. 44, 45. 


cause of a Sabbatli, it ought to be the end, not the be- 
ginning ; it ought to be the rest, not the first part of the 
work ; it ought to be that wliich God assigned, not [that] 
which man should take by way of after justification."^ 

It is to be observ^ecl, therefore, that the first 
trace of Sunday as a Christian festival is found 
in the church of Rome. Soon after this time, and 
thenceforward, we shall find " the bishop " of that 
church making vigorous efforts to suppress the 
Sabbath of the Lord, and to elevate in its stead 
the festival of Sunday. 

It is proper to note the fact also that Justin 
was a decided opponent of the ancient Sabbath. 
In his " Dialogue with Trypho the Jew " he thus 
addressed him : — 

" This new law teaches you to observe a perpetual Sab- 
bath ; and you, when you have spent one day in idleness, 
think you have discharged the duties of religion. ... If 
any one is guilty of adultery, let him repent, then he hath 
kept the true and delightful Sabbath unto God. . . . For 
Yv^e really should observe that circumcision which is in the 
flesh, and the Sabbath, and all the feasts, if we had not 
known the reason why they were imposed upon you, 
namely, upon the account of your iniquities. ... It was 
because of your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fa- 
thers, that God appointed you to observe the Sabbath. 
.... You see that the heavens are not idle, nor do they 
observe the Sabbath. Continue as ye were born. For 
if before Abraham there was no need of circumcision, nor 
of the sabbaths, nor of feasts, nor of ofterings before Mo- 
ses ; so now in like manner there is no need of them, since 
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was by the determinate 
counsel of God, born of a virgin of the seed of Abraham 
without sin."- 

This reasoning of Justin deserves no reply. It 
shows, however, the unfairness of Dr. Edwards, 

1 Ductor Dubitantiuni, part i. book ii. chap. ii. rule G, sect. 45. 
8 Brown's Translation, pp. 43, 44, 52, 59, G3, G4. 


who quotes Justin Martyr as a witness for the 
change of the Sabbath ; ^ whereas Justin held 
that God made the Sabbath on account of the 
wickedness of the Jews, and that he totally ab- 
rogated it in consequence of the first advent of 
Christ ; the Sunday festival of the heathen being 
evidently adopted by the church at Rome from 
motives of " expediency " and perhaps of " pat- 
riotism." The testimony of Justin, if genuine, is 
peculiarly valuable in one respect. It shows that 
as late as A. D. 140 the first day of the week had 
acquired no title of sacredness ; for Justin several 
times mentions the day : thrice as " the day called 
Sunday ;" and twice as " the eighth day ;" and by 
other terms also, but never by any sacred name. ^ 

The next important witness in behalf of first- 
day sacredness is thus presented by Dr. Ed- 
wards : — 

^ ' Hence Irenseus, bishop of Lyons, a disciple of Poly- 
carp, who had been the companion of the apostles, a. d. 
167, says that the Lord's day was the Christian Sabbath. 
His words are, ' On the Lord's day every one of ns Chris- 
tians keeps the Sabbath, meditating on the law and re- 
joicing in the works of God.' " ^ 

This testimony is highly valued by first-day 
writers, and is often and prominently set forth in 
their publications. Sir Wm. Domville, whose 
elaborate treatise on the Sabbath has been several 
times quoted, states the following important fact 
relative to this quotation : — 

''I have carefully searched through all the extant 
works of Irenaeus and can with certainty state that no 
such passage, or any one at all resembling it, is there to 
be found. The edition I consulted was that by Massuet 
(Paris, 1710) ; but to assure myself still further, I have 

1 Sabbath Manual, p. 121. 2 Dialogue with Trjpho, p. 65. 

3 Sabbath Manual, p. 114. 


since looked to the editions by Erasmus (Paris, 1563), and 
Grabe (Oxford, 1702), and in neither do I find the pas- 
sage in question. " ^ 

It is a remarkable fact that those who quote 
this as the language of Iren^us, if they give any 
reference, cite their readers to Dwight's Theology 
instead of referring them to the place in the 
works of Irenseus where it is to be found. It was 
Dr. Dwight who first enriched the theological 
world with this invaluable quotation. Where, 
then, did Dwight obtain this testimony which has 
so many times been given as that of Irenseus ? 
On this point Domville remarks : — 

* ' He had the misfortune to be afflicted with a disease 
in his eyes from the early age of twenty-three, a calamity 
(says his biographer) by which he was deprived of the ca- 
pacity for reading and study. . . . The knowledge 
which he gained from books after the period above men- 
tioned [by whidi the editor must mean his age of twenty- 
three] was almost exclusively at second hand, by the aid 
of others."" 

Domville states another fact which gives us 
unquestionably the origin of this quotation : — 

"But although not to be found in Irenreus, there are 
in the wi-itings ascribed to another father, namely, in the 
interpolated epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians, and in 
one of its interpolated passages, expressions so clearly re- 
sembling those Oi Dr. Dvvig-ht's quotation as to leave no 
doubt of the source from which he quoted. " ^ 

Such, then, is the end of this famous testimo- 
ny of Irenseus, who had it from Polycarp, who 
had it from the apostles ! It was furnished the 
world by a man whose eyesight was impaired ; 
who in consequence of this infirmity took at sec- 
ond hand an interpolated passage from an epistle 

1 Examination of the Six Texts, pp. 1: 
aid. p. 128. 8 Id. p. 



falsely ascribed to Ignatius, and published it to 
the world as the genuine testimony of Irenasus. 
Loss of eyesight, as we may charitably believe, 
led Dr. Dwight into the serious error which he 
has commxitted ; but by the publication of this 
spurious testimony, which seemed to come in a 
direct line from the apostles, he has rendered 
multitudes as incapable of reading aright the 
fourth commandment, as he, by loss of natural 
eyesight, was of reading Irenseus for himself. 
This case admirably illustrates tradition as a 
religious guide ; it is the blind leading the blind 
until both fall into the ditch. 

Nor is this all that should be said in the case 
of Irenseus. In all his writings there is no in- 
stance in which he calls Sunday the Lord's day ! 
And what is also very remarkable, there is no 
sentence extant written by him in which he even 
mentions the first day of the week ! ^ It appears, 
however, from several statements in ancient writ- 
ers, that he did mention the day, though no sen- 
tence of his in which it is mentioned is in exist- 
ence. He held that the Sabbath was a typical 
institution, which pointed to the seventh thou- 
sand years as the great day of rest to the church ; ^ 
he said that Abraham was " without observance 
of Sabbaths ;" ^ and yet he makes the origin of 
the Sabbath to be the sanctification of the sev- 
enth day. * But he expressly asserts the perpe- 
tuity and authority of the ten commandments, 
declaring that they are identical with the law of 

1 See his full testimony in the Testimony of the Fathers, pp. 

2 Against Heresies, book iv. chap. xvi. sects. 1, 2; Id. book y. 
chap, xxviii. sect. 3. 

3 Id. book iv. chap. xvi. sects 1, 2. 

4 Id. book V. chap, xxxiii. sect. 2. 

274 HISTORY OF the sabbath. 

nature implanted from the beginning in mankind, 
that they remain permanently with us, and that 
if any one does not observe them he has no sal- 
vation." ^ 

It is a remarkable fact that the first instance 
upon record in which the bishop of Rome at- 
tempted to rule the Christian church was by AN 
EDICT IN BEHALF OF SuNDAY. It had been the 
custom of all the churches to celebrate the passo- 
ver, but with this difference : that while the east- 
ern churches observed it upon the fourteenth day 
of the first month, no matter what day of the 
week this might be, the western churches kept 
it upon the Sunday following that day ; or rath- 
er, upon the Sunday following Good Friday. 
Victor, bishop of Rome, in the year 196,^ took 
upon him to impose the Roman custom upon all 
the churches ; that is, to compel them to observe 
the passover upon Sunday. " This bold attempt," 
says Bower, " we may call the first essay of pa- 
pal usurpation."^ Arid Dowling terms it the 
" earliest instance of Romish assumption." * The 
churches of Asia Minor informed Victor that they 
could not comply with his lordly mandate. Then, 
says Bower : — 

' ' Upon the receipt of this letter, Victor, giving the 
reins to an impotent and ungovernable passion, piiblished 
bitter invectives against all the churches of Asia, de- 
clared them cut off from his communion, sent letters of 
excommunication to their respective bishops ; and, at the 
same time, in order to have them cut off from the com- 
munion of the whole church, wrote to the other bishops, 

1 Against Heresies, book iv. chap. xv. sect. 1 ; chap. xiii. sect. 4. 

'-i Bower's History of the Popes, vol. i. pp. 18, 19; Rose's Nean- 
(ler, pp. 188-100; bowling's llistorj of Komauisra, book i. chap, 
ii. sect. 9. 

3 History of the Popes, vol. i. p. 18. 

» History of Romanism, heading of page 32. 


exhorting them to follow his example, and forbear com- 
municating with their refractory brethren of Asia." ^ 

The historian informs us that ''not one fol- 
lowed his example or advice ; not one paid any 
sort of regard to his letters, or showed the least 
inclination to second him in such a rash and un- 
charitable attempt." He further says : — 

"Victor being thus baffled in his attempt, his success- 
ors took care not to revive the controversy ; so that the 
Asiatics peaceably followed their ancient practice till the 
Council of Nice, which out of complaisance to Constan- 
tine the Great, ordered the solemnity of Easter to be kept 
everywhere on the same day, after the custom of Rome." ^ 

The victory was not obtained for Sunday in 
this struggle, as Heylyn testifies, 

"Till the great Council of Nice [a. d. 325] backed by 
the authority of as great an emperor [Constantine] set- 
tled it better than before ; none but some scattered schis- 
matics, now and then appearing, that durst oppose the res- 
olution of that famous synod. " ^ 

Constantine, by whose powerful influence the 
Council of Nice was induced to decide this ques- 
tion in favor of the Roman bishop, that is, to fix 
the passover upon Sunday, urged the following 
strong reason for the measure : — 

" Let us then have nothing in common with the most 
hostile rabble of the Jews." * 

This sentence is worthy of notice. A deter- 
mination to have nothing in common with the 
Jews had very much to do with the suppression 
of the Sabbath in the Chiistian church. Those 
who rejected the Sabbath of the Lord and chose 

1 History of the Popes, a'oI. i. p. 18. 

2 Id. pp. 18, 19; Giesler's Eccl. Hist. vol. i. sect. 57. 
8 History of the Sabbath, part ii. chap. ii. sects. 4, 5. 

* Boyle's Historical View of the Council of Nice, p. 52, ed. 1842. 

276 HISTORY OF the sabbath. 

in its stead the more popular and more conven- 
ient Sunday festival of the heathen, were so in- 
fatuated with the idea of having nothing in com- 
mon with the Jews, that they never even ques- 
tioned the propriety of a festival in common with 
the heathen. 

This festival was not weekl}^, but annual ; but 
the removal of it from the fourteenth of the 
first month to the Sunday following Good Fri- 
day was the first legislation attempted in honor 
of Sunday as a Christian festival ; and as Heylyn 
quaintly expresses it, " The Lord's day found it 
no small matter to obtain the victory. ^ In a 
brief period after the Council of Nice, by the 
laws of Theodosius, capital punishment w^as in- 
flicted upon those who should celebrate the feast 
of the passover upon any other day than Sun- 
day.^ The Britons of Wales were long able to 
maintain their ground against this favorite proj- 
ect of the Roman church, and as late as the sixth 
century " obstinately resisted the imperious man- 
dates of the Roman pontiffs." ^ 

Four years after the commencement of the 
struggle just narrated, bring us to the testimony 
of TertuUian, the oldest of the Latin fathers, who 
wrote about A. D. 200. Dr. Clarke tells us that 
the fathers " blow hot and cold." TertuUian is a 
fair example of this. He places the origin of the 
Sabbath at the creation, but elsewhere says that 
the patriarchs did not keep it. He says that 
Joshua broke the Sabbath at Jericho, and after- 
ward shows that he did not break it. He says 
that Christ broke the Sabbath, and in another 

1 Ilist. Sab. part ii. chap. ii. sect. 5. 

2 Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, chap, xxvii. 

3 1(1. chap, xxxviii. 


place proves that he did not. He represents the 
eighth day as more honorable than the seventh, 
and elsewhere states the reverse. He states that 
the law is abolished, and in other places teaches 
its perpetuity and authority. He declares that 
the Sabbath was abrogated by Christ, and after- 
ward asserts that "Christ did not at all i-escind 
the Sabbath," but imparted " an additional sanc- 
tity " to " the Sabbath day itself, which from the 
beginning had been consecrated by the benedic- 
tion of the Father." And he goes on to say that 
Christ " furnished to this day divine safeguards 
— a course which his adversary would liave pur- 
sued for some other days, to avoid honoring the 
Creator's Sabbath." 

This last statement is very remarkable. The 
Saviour furnished additional safeguards to the 
Creator's Sabbath. But "his adversary" would 
have done this to some other days. Now it is 
plain, first, that Tertullian did not believe that 
Christ sanctified some other day to take the place 
of the Sabbath ; and second, that he believed the 
consecration of another day to be the work of the 
adversary of God ! When he wrote these words 
he certainly did not believe in the sanctification 
of Sunday by Christ. But Tertullian and his 
brethren found themselves observing as a festival 
that day on which the sun was worshiped, and 
they were, in consequence, taunted with being 
worshipers of the sun. Tertullian denies the 
chargje, thous^h he acknowledcres that thei^e was 
some appearance of truth to it. He says : — 

" Others, again, certainly with more information and 
greater verisimilitude, believe that the sun is our God. 
We shall be counted Persians, j)erhaps, though we do not 
worship the orb of day painted on a piece of linen cloth, 


having himself every^N-here in his ovra disk. The idea, 
no doubt, has originated from onr being known to turn 
to the east in prayer. But you, many of you, also, un- 
der pretense sometimes of worshiping the heavenly bodies, 
move your lips in the direction of the sunrise. In the 
same way, if we devote Sunday to rejoicing, from a far 
different reason than sun-worship, w^e have some resem- 
blance to those of you who devote the day of Saturn to 
ease and luxury, though they, too, go far away from Jew- 
ish ways, of w^hich they are ignorant."^ 

Tertullian pleads no divine command nor apos- 
tolic example for this practice. In fact, he offers 
no reason for the practice, though he intimates 
that he had one to offer. But he finds it neces- 
sary in another work to repel this same charge 
of sun-worship, because of Sunday observance. 
In this second answer to this charge he states the 
ground of defense more distinctl}^, and here we 
shall find his best reason. These are his words : — 

* ' Others, with greater regard to good manners, it must 
be confessed, suppose that the sun is the god of the 
Christians, because it is a well-known fact that we pray 
toward the east, or because we make Sunday a day of 
festivity. Wliat then ? Do you do less than this ? Do 
not many among you, with an affectation of sometimes 
w^orshiping the heavenly bodies likewise, move your lips 
in the direction of the sunrise ? It is you, at all events, 
who have even admitted the sun into the calendar of the 
week ; and you have selected its day [Sunday], in prefer- 
ence to the preceding- day, as the most suitable in the 
week for either an entire abstinence from the bath, or for 
its postponement until the evening, or for taking rest, 
and for banqueting. By resorting to these customs, you 
deliberately deviate from your own religious rites to those 
of strangers." " 

Tertullian, in this discourse, addresses himself 
to the nations still in idolatry. With some of 
these, Sunday was an ancient festival ; with oth- 

1 TertuUian's Apcilogy, sect. Ifi. 

2 Tertullian Ad Nationcs, book i. chap. xiii. 


ers, it was of comparatively recent date. But 
some of these heathen reproached the Sunday- 
Christians with being sun- worshipers. And now 
observe the answer. He does not say, "We 
Christians are commanded to celebrate the first 
day of the week in honor of Christ's resurrection." 
His answer is doubtless the best that he knew 
how to frame. It is a mere retort, and consists 
in asserting, first, that the Christians had done 
no more than their accusers, the heathen; and 
second, that they had as good a right to make 
Sunday a day of festivity as had the heathen ! 

The origin of first-day observance has been the 
subject of inquiry in this chapter. We have 
found that Sunday from remote antiquity was 
a heathen festival in honor of the sun, and that 
in the first centuries of the Christian era this 
ancient festival was in oreneral veneration in the 
heathen world. We have learned that patriotism 
and expediency, and a tender regard for the con- 
version of the Gentile world, caused the leaders 
of the church to adopt as their religious festival 
the day observed by the heathen, and to retain 
the same name which the heathen had given it. 
We have seen that the earhest instance upon rec- 
ord of the actual observance of Sunday in the 
Christian church, is found in the church of Rome 
about A. D. 140. The first great effort in its be- 
half, A. D. 196, is by a singular coincidence the 
fii'st act of papal usurpation. The first instance 
of a sacred title being applied to this festival, 
and the earliest trace of abstinence from labor on 
that day, are found in the writings of Tertullian 
at the close of the second century. The origin of 
the festival of Sunday is now before the reader ; 
the steps by which it has ascended to supreme 


power will be pointed out in their proper order 
and place. 

One fact of deep interest will conclude tins 
chapter. The first great effort made to put down 
the Sabbath was the act of the church of Rome 
in turning it into a fast while Sunday was made 
a joyful festival. While the eastern churches re- 
tained the Sabbath, a portion of the western 
churches, with the church of Rome at their head, 
turned it into a fast. As a part of the western 
churches refused to comply with this ordinance, 
a long stuggle ensued, tlie result of which is thus 
stated by Heylyn : — 

''In this difference it stood a long time together, till 
in the end the Roman church obtained the cause, and 
Saturday became a fast almost through all the parts of 
the western world. I say the western world, and of that 
alone : the eastern churches being so far from altering 
their ancient custom that in the sixth council of Constan- 
tinople, A. D. 692, they did admonish those of Rome to 
forbear fasting on that day upon pain of censure."^ 

Wm. James, in a sermon before the University 
of Oxford, thus states the time when this fast 
originated : — 

' ' The western church began to fast on Saturday at the 
beginning of the third century." - 

Thus it is seen that this struggle began with 
the third century, that is, immediately after the 
year 200. Neander thus states the motive of the 
Roman church : — 

"In the western churches, particularly the Roman, 
where opposition to Judaism was the prevailing tendency, 
this very opposition produced the custom of celebrating 
the Saturday in particular as a fast day.'"* 

Jllistory of the Sabbath, part 2, chap. ii. sect. 3. 
2 Sermons on the SacraincMits and Sabbath, p. IGO. 
'■^ Neander, p. ISO. 


By Judaism, Neancler meant the observance of 
the seventh day as the Sabbath. Dr. Charles 
Hase, of Germany, states the object of the Roman 
church in very expUcit language : — 

^' The Roman church regarded Saturday as a fast day 
in direct opi^osition to those who regarded it as a Sabbath. 
Sunday remained a joyful festival in which all fasting 
and worldly business was avoided as much as possible, 
but the original commandment of the decalogue respect- 
ing the Sabbath was not then applied to that day. "^ 

Lord King attests this fact in the following 
words : — 

" Some of the western churches, that they might not 
seem to Judaize, fasted on Saturday, as Victorinus Pet- 
avionensis writes : We use to fast on the seventh day. 
And it is our custom then to fast, that we may not seem, 
with the Jews, to observe the Sabbath."" 

Thus the Sabbath of the Lord was turned into 
a fast in order to render it despicable before men. 
Such was the first great effort of the Roman 
church toward the suppression of the ancient 
Sabbath of the Bible. 

1 Ancient Church History, part i. div. 2, a. d. 100-312, sect. G9. 

2 Enquiry into the Constitution of the Primitive Church, part ii. 
chap. vii. sect. 11. See also Schaflf's "History of the Christian 
Church," vol. i. p. 373. 

Sabbath History. 




The history of first-day observance compared with that of 
the popes — First-day observance defined in the very words 
of each of the early fathers who mention it — The reasons 
which each had for its observance stated in his own words 
— Sunday in their judgment of no higher sacredness than 
Easter or Whitsunday, or even than the fifty days between 
those festivals — Sunday not a day of abstinence from la- 
bor — The reasons which are oflered by those of them who 
rejected the Sabbath stated in their own words. 

The history of first-day observance in the 
Christian church may be fitly illustrated by that 
of the bishops of Rome. The Roman bishop now 
claims supreme power over all the churches of 
Christ. He asserts that this power was given to 
Peter, and by him was transmitted to the bishops 
of Rome ; or rather that Peter was the first Ro- 
man bishop, and that a succession of such bish- 
ops from his time to the present have exercised 
this absolute power in the church. They are 
able to trace back their line to apostolic times, 
and they assert that the pov/er now claimed by 
the pope was claimed and exercised by the first 
pastors of the church of the Romans. Those who 
now acknowledge the supremacy of the pope be- 
lieve this assertion, and with them it is a conclu- 
sive evidence that the pope is by divine right 
possessed of supreme power. But the assertion 
is absolutely false. The early pastors, or bishops, 
or elders, of the church of the Romans were mod- 
est, unassuming ministers of Christ, wholly un- 
like the arrogant bishop of Rome, who now 


usurps the place of Christ as the head of the 
Christian church. 

The first day of the week now claims to be 
the Christian Sabbath, and enforces its authority 
by means of the fourth commandment, having set 
aside the seventh day, which that commandment 
enjoins, and usurped its place. Its advocates as- 
sert that this position and this authority were 
given to it by Christ. As no record of such gift 
is found in the Scriptures, the principal argu- 
ment in its support is furnished by tracing first- 
day observance back to the early Christians, 
who, it is said, would not have hallowed the day 
if they had not been instructed to do it by the 
apostles ; and the apostles would not have taught 
them to do it if Christ had not, in their presence, 
changed the Sabbath. 

But first-day observance can be traced no 
nearer to apostolic times than A. D. 140, while 
the bishops of Rome can trace their line to the 
very times of the apostles. Herein is the papal 
claim to apostolic authority better than is that of 
the first-day Sabbath. But with this exception, 
the historical argument in behalf of each is the 
same. Both began with very moderate preten- 
sions, and gradually gaining in power and sacred- 
ness, gi'ew up in strength together. 

Let us now go to those who were the earliest 
observers of Sunday and learn from them the 
nature of that observance at its commencement. 
We shall find, first, that no one claimed for first- 
day observance any divine authority; second, 
that none of them had ever heard of the change 
of the Sabbath, and none believed the first-day 
festival to be a continuation of the Sabbatic in- 
stitution ; third, that labor on that day is never 


set forth as sinful, and that abstinence from labor 
is never mentioned as a feature of its observance, 
nor even implied, only so far as necessary in or- 
der to spend a portion of the day in worship ; 
fourth, that if we put together all the hints re- 
specting Sunday observance, which are scattered 
through the fathers of the first three centuries, 
for no one of them gives more than two of these, 
and generally a single hint is all that is found in 
one writer, we shall find just four items: (1) an 
assembly on that day in which the Bible was 
read and expounded, and the supper celebrated, 
and money collected ; (2) that the day must be 
one of rejoicing; (3) that it must not be a day 
of fasting ; (4) that the knee must not be bent in 
prayer on that day. 

The following are all the hints respecting the 
nature of first-day observance during the first 
three centuries. The epistle falsely ascribed to 
Barnabas simply says : " We keep the eighth day 
with joyfulness." ^ Justin Martyr, in v/ords al- 
ready quoted at full length, describes the kind 
of meeting which they held at Rome and in that 
vicinity on that day, and this is all that he con- 
nects with its observance.^ Irenceus taught that 
to commemorate the resurrection, the knee must 
not be bent on that day, and mentions nothing 
else as essential to its honor. This act of stand- 
ing in prayer was a symbol of the resurrection, 
which was to be celebrated only on that day, as 
he held.^ Bardesanes the Gnostic represents the 
Christians as everywhere meeting for worship on 
that day, but he does not describe that worship, 

J Epistle of Barnabas, chap. xv. 

2 Justin Martyr's First Apology, chap. Ixvii. 

=* Lnst Writings of Irenieiip, Frajrinents 7 and .'.o. 


and he gives no other honor to the day.^ Tertul- 
lian describes Sunday observance as follows : 
"We devote Sunday to rejoicing," and he adds, 
" We have some resemblance to those of you who 
devote the day of Saturn to ease and luxury." ^ 
In another work he gives us a further idea of the 
festive character of Sunday. Thus he says to 
his brethren : " If any indulgence is to he granted 
to the flesh, you have it. I will not say your 
own days, but more too; for to the heathens 
each festive day occurs but once annually ; you 
have a festive day every eighth day."^ Dr. Hey- 
lyn spoke the truth when he said : — 

'' Tertullian tells us that they did devote the Sunday 
partly unto mirth and recreation, not to devotion alto- 
gether ; when in a hundred years after Tertullian's time 
there was no law or constitution to restrain men from la- 
bor on this day in the Christian church."^ 

The Sunday festival in Tertullian's time was 
not like the modern first-day Sabbath, but was 
essentially the German festival of Sunday, a day 
for worship and for recreation, and one on which 
labor was not sinful. But Tertullian speaks fur- 
ther respecting Sunday observance, and the words 
now to be quoted have been used as proof that 
labor on that day was counted sinful. This is 
the only statement that can be found prior to 
Constantine's Sunday law that has such an ap- 
pearance, and the proof is decisive that such was 
not its meaning. Here are his words : — 

'^ We, however (just as we have received), only on the 
day of the Lord's resurrection, ought to guard, not only 
against kneeling, but every posture and oifice of solici- 

iBook of the Laws of Countries. 

2 TertuUian's Apology, sect. 16. 

3 On Idolatry, chap. xiv. 

* Hist. Sab. part 2, chap. viii. sect. 13. 


tude, deferring even our businesses, lest we give any place 
to the devil. Similarly, too, in the period of Pentecost ; 
which period we distinguish by the same solemnity of ex- 

He speaks of " deferring even our businesses ;" 
but this does not necessarily imply anything more 
than its postponement during the hours devoted 
to rehgious services. It falls very far short of 
saying that labor on Sunday is a sin. But we 
will quote TertuUian's next mention of Sunday 
observance before noticing further the words last 
quoted. Thus he says : — 

' ' We count fasting or kneeling in worship on the Lord's 
day to be unlawful. We rejoice in the same j)rivilege 
also from Easter to Whitsunday."" 

These two things, fasting and kneeling, are the 
only acts which the fathers set down as unlawful 
on Sunday, unless, indeed, mourning may be in- 
cluded by some in the list. It is certain that la- 
bor is never thus mentioned. And observe that 
Tertullian repeats the important statement of the 
previous quotation that the honor due to Sunday 
pertains also to the " period of Pentecost," that is, 
to the fifty days between Easter or Passover and 
Whitsunday or Pentecost. If, therefore, labor on 
Sunday was in TertuUian's estimation sinful, the 
same was true for the period of Pentecost, a space 
of fifty days ! But this is not possible. We can 
conceive of the deferral of business for one relig- 
ious assembly each day for fifty days, and also 
that men should neither fast nor kneel during 
that time, which was precisely what the religious 
celebration of Sunday actually was. But to 
make Tertullian assert that labor on Sunday 
was a sin is to make him declare that such was 

' On Prayer, clijip. xxiii. ^ ])c Corona, sect, 0. 


the case for fifty days together, which no one will 
venture to say was the doctrine of TertuUian. 

In another work TertuUian gives us one more 
statement respecting the nature of Sunday ob- 
servance : " We make Sunday a day of festivity. 
"What then ? Do you do less than this ?"_^ His 
language is very extraordinary when it is con- 
sidered that he was addressing heathen. It 
seems that Sunday as a Christian festival was so 
similar to the festival which these heathen ob- 
served that he could challenge them to show 
wherein the Christians went further than did 
these heathen whom he here addressed. 

The next father who gives us the nature of 
early Sunday observance is Peter of Alexandria. 
He says : " But the Lord's day we celebrate as a 
day of joy, because on it he rose again, on which 
day we have received it for a custom not even 
to bow the knee."^ He marks two things es- 
sential. It must be a day of joy, and Christians 
must not kneel on that day. Zonaras, an ancient 
commentator on these words of Peter, explains 
the day of joy by saying, " We ought not to fast ; 
for it is a day of joy for the resurrection of the 
Lord." ^ Next in order, we quote the so-called 
Apostolical Constitutions. These command Chris- 
tians to assemble for worship every day, " but 
principally on the Sabbath day. And on the 
day of our Lord's resurrection, which is the 
Lord's day, meet more diligently, sending praise 
to God," etc. The object of assembling was " to 
hear the saving word concerning the resurrec- 
tion," to "pray thrice standing," to have the 

1 Ad Nationes, book i. chap. xiii. ^ Canon 15. 

3 Ante-Nicene Library, vol. xiv, p. 322. 


prophets read, to have preaching and also the 
suppei".^ These " Constitutions " not only give 
the nature of the worship on Sunday as just set 
forth, but they also give us an idea of Sunday as 
a day of festivity : — 

"jSTowwe exhort you, brethren and fellow-servants, to 
avoid vain talk and obscene discourses, and jestings, 
drunkenness, lasciviousness, luxury, unbounded passions, 
with foolish discourses, since ice do not permit you so much 
as 071 the Lord's days, which are days, of joy, to speak or 
act anything unseemly."" 

This language plainly implies that the so-called 
Lord's day was a day of greater mirth than the 
other days of the week. Even on the Lord's day 
they must not speak or act anything unseemly, 
though it is evident that their license on that 
day was greater than on other days. Once more 
these " Constitutions " give us the nature of Sun- 
day observance : " Every Sabbath day excepting 
one, and every Lord's day hold your solemn as- 
semblies, and rejoice ; for he will be guilty of 
sin who fasts on the Lord's day." ^ But no one 
can read so much as once that " he is guilty of 
sin who performs work on this day." 

Next, we quote the epistle to the Magnesians 
in its longer form, which though not written by 
Ignatius was actually written about the time that 
the Apostolical Constitutions were committed to 
writing. Here are the words of this epistle : — 

' ' And after the observance of the Sabbath, let every 
friend of Christ keep the Lord's day as a festival, the res- 
iirrection day, the queen and chief of all the days."* 

The writer of the Syriac Documents concern- 

1 Apostolical Coustitutions, book ii. sect. 7, par. 59. 

2 Id. book V. sect. ii. par. 10. sid. book v. sect. iii. par. 20. 
■1 Epistlo to the Magnesians (longer form), chap. ix. 


ing Edessa comes last, and he defines the serv- 
ices of Sunday as follows : " On the first [day] of 
the week, let there be service, and the reading of 
the Holy Scriptures, and the oblation." ^ These 
are all the passages in the writings of the first 
three centuries which describe early first-day ob- 
servance. Let the reader judge whether we have 
correctly stated the nature of that observance. 
Next we invite attention to the several reasons 
ofiered by these fathers for celebrating the festi- 
val of Sunday. 

The reputed epistle of Barnabas supports the 
Sunday festival by saying that it was the day 
" on which Jesus rose again from the dead," and 
it intimates that it prefigures the eighth thousand 
years, when God shall create the world anew. ^ 

Justin Martyr has four reasons : — 

1. "It is the first day on which God having 
wi-ought a change in the darkness and matter, 
made the world." ^ 

2. " Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day 
rose from the dead." ^ 

3. " It is possible for us to show how the eighth 
day possessed a certain mysterious import, which 
the seventh day did not possess, and which was 
promulgated by God through these rites," ^ i. e., 
through circumcision. 

4. " The command of circumcision, again, bid- 
ding [them] always circumcise the children on 
the eighth day, was a type of the true circumcis- 
ion, by which we are circumcised from deceit 
and iniquity through Him who rose from the 
dead on the first day after the Sabbath." ^ 

1 Syriac Documents, p. 8S. ^ Epistle of Barnabas, cliap. xv. 
3 Justin's First Apology, chap. Ixvii. •ild, lb. 

5 Dialogue with Trypho, chap. xxir. «Id. chap. xli. 


Clement, of Alexandria, appears to treat solely 
of a mystical eighth day or Lord's day. It is 
perhaps possible that he has some reference to 
Sunday. We therefore quote what he says in 
behalf of this day, calling attention to the fact 
that he produces his testimony, not from the Bi- 
ble, but from a heathen philosopher. Thus he 
says : — 

' ' And the Lord's day Plato prophetically speaks of in 
the tenth book of the Republic, in these words : ' And 
when seven days have passed to each of them in the 
meadow on the eighth day they are to set out and arrive 
in four days.' "^ 

Clement's reasons for Sunday are found outside 
the Scriptures. The next father will give us a 
good reason for Clement's action in this case. 

Tertullian is the next writer who gives reasons 
for the Sunday festival. He is speaking of " of- 
ferings for the dead," the manner of Sunday ob- 
servance, and the use of the sign of the cross 
upon the forehead. Here is the ground on which 
these observances rest : — 

"If, for these and other such rules, you insist upon hav- 
ing positive Scripture injunction, you will find none. 
Tradition will be held forth to you as the originator of 
them, custom, as their strengthener, and faith, as their 
observer. That reason will support tradition, and cus- 
tom, and faith, you will either yourself perceive, or learn 
from some one who has. " ^ 

TertuUian's frankness is to be commended. 
He had no Scripture to offer, and he acknowl- 
edges the fact. He depended on tradition, and 
he was not ashamed to confess it. The next of 
the fathers who gives Scripture evidence in sup- 

1 Clement's Miscellanies, book v. chap. xiv. 
^ Be Corona, sect. 4. 


port of the Sunday festival, is Origen. Here ai^e 
his words : — 

'^ The manna fell on the Lord's day, and not on the 
Sabbath to show the Jews that even then the Lord's day 
was preferred before it." ^ 

Origen seems to have been of Tertullian's judg- 
ment as to the inconclusiveness of the arguments 
adduced by his predecessors. He therefore coined 
an original argument which seems to have been 
very conclusive in his estimation as he offers this 
alone. But he must have forgotten that the 
manna fell on all the six working days, or he 
would have seen that while his argument does 
not elevate Sunday above the other five working 
days, it does make the Sabbath the least reputa- 
ble day of the seven ! And yet the miracle of 
the manna was expressly designed to set forth 
the sacredness of the Sabbath and to establish its 
authority before the people. Cyprian is the 
next father who gives an argument for the Sun- 
day festival. He contents himself with one of 
Justin's old arguments, viz., that one drawn from 
circumcision. Thus he says : — 

" For in respect of the observance of the eighth day in 
the Jewish circumcision of the flesh, a sacrament was 
given beforehand in shadow and in usage ; but when 
Christ came, it was fulfilled in truth. For because the 
eighth day, that is, the first day after the Sabbath, was to 
be that on which the Lord should rise again, and should 
quicken us, and give us circumcision of the Spirit, the 
eighth day, that is, the first day after the Sabbath, and the 
Lord's day, went before in the figure ; which figure ceased 
when by and by the truth came, and spiritual circumcis- 
ion was given to us. " " 

1 Origen's Opera, Tome ii. p. 153, Paris, a. d. 1733, "Quod si 
ex Divinis Scripturis hoc constat, quod die Dominica Deus pluit 
manna de cmIo et in Sabbato non pluit, intelligant Judsei jam tunc 
prselatam esse Dominicam nostram Judaico Sabbato." 

2 Cyprian's Epistle, No. Iviii. sect. 4. 


Such is the only argument adduced by Cyp- 
rian in behalf of the first-day festival. The 
circumcision of infants when eight days old was, 
in his judgment, a type of infant baptism. But 
circumcision on the eighth day of the child's life, 
in his estimation, did not signify that baptism 
need to be deferred till the infant is eight days 
old, but, as here stated, did signify that the eighth 
day was to be the Lord's day ! But the eighth 
day, on which circumcision took place, was not 
the first day of the week, but the eighth day of 
each child's life, whatever day of the week that 
might be. 

The next father who gives a reason for cele- 
brating Sunday as a day of joy, and refraining 
from kneeling on it, is Peter of Alexandria, who 
simply says, " Because on it he rose again." ^ 

Next in order come the Apostolical Constitu- 
tions, which assert that the Sunday festival is a 
memorial of the resurrection : — 

" But keep the Sabbath, and the Lord's day festival ; 
because the former is a memorial of the creation, and the 
latter of the resurrection."" 

The writer, however, offers no proof that Sun- 
day was set apart by divine authority in memory 
of the resurrection. But the next person who 
gives his reasons for keeping Sunday " as a festi- 
val " is the writer of the longer form of the re- 
puted epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians. He 
finds the eighth da}^ prophetically set forth in 
the title to the sixth and twelfth psalms ! In 
the margin, the word Sheminith is translated 
" the eighth." Here is this writer's argument for 
Sunday : — 

» Peter's Canons, No. xv. 

2 Apostolical Constitutions, book vii. sect. ii. par. 23. 


' ' Looking forward to this^ the prophet declared, ' To 
the end for the eighth day/ on which our life both sj^rang 
up again, and the victory over death was obtained in 

There is yet another of the fathers of the first 
three centuries who gives the reasons then used 
in support of the Sunday festival. This is the 
writer of the Syriac Documents concerning 
Edessa. He comes next in order and closes the 
list. Here are four reasons : — 

1. ^'Because on the first day of the week our Lord 
rose from the place of the dead." " 

2. " On the first day of the week he arose upon the 
world," ^ i. e., he was born upon Sunday. 

3. "On the first day of the Aveek he ascended up to 

4. ' ' On the first day of the week he will appear at last 
with the angels of Heaven."" 

The first of these reasons is as good a one as 
man can devise out of his own heart for doing 
what God never commanded; the second and 
fourth are mere assertions of which mankind 
know nothing ; while the third is a positive un- 
truth, for the ascension was upon Thursday. 

We have now presented every reason for the 
Sunday festival which can be found in all the 
writinsjs of the first three centuries. Though 
generally very trivial, and sometimes worse than 
trivial, they are nevertheless worthy of careful 
study. They constitute a decisive testimony that 
the change of the Sabbath by Christ or by his 
apostles from the seventh to the first day of the 
week was absolutely unknown during that entire 
period. But were it true that such change had 

1 Epistle to the Magnesians, chap. ix. 
^Svriac Documents, p. 38. 
- 3 Id. Ih. JW. lb. 5 Id. lb. 


been made they must have known it. Had they 
believed that Christ changed the Sabbath to 
commemorate his resurrection, how emphatically 
would they have stated that fact instead of offer- 
ing reasons for the festival of Sunday which are 
so worthless as to be, with one or two exceptions, 
entirely discarded by modern first-day writers. 
Or had they believed that the apostles honored 
Sunday as the Sabbath or Lord's day, how would 
they have produced these facts in triumph ! But 
Tertullian said that they had no positive Script- 
ure injunction for the Sunday festival, and the oth- 
ers, by offering reasons that were only devised in 
their own hearts, corroborated his testimony, and 
all of them together establish the fact that even 
in their own estimation the day was only sus- 
tained by the authority of the church. They 
were totally unacquainted with the modern doc- 
trine that the seventh day in the commandment 
means simply one day in seven, and that the 
Saviour, to commemorate his resurrection, ap- 
pointed that the first day of the week should be 
that one of tlie seven to which the commandment 
should apply ! 

We have given every statement in the fathers 
of the first tliree centuries in which the manner 
of celebrating the Sunday festival is set forth. 
We have also given every reason for that observ- 
ance which is to be found in any of them. These 
two classes of testimonies show clearly that ordi- 
nary labor was not one of the things which were 
forbidden on that day. We now offer direct 
proof that other days which on all hands are ac- 
counted nothing but church festivals were ex- 
pressly declared by the fathers to be equal if not 
superior in sacredness to the Sunday festival. 


The " Lost Writings of Iren^eus " gives us his 
mind concerning the relative sacreclness of the 
festival of Sunday and that of either Easter or 
Pentecost. This is the statement : — 

" Upon which [feast] we do not bend the knee, becd,use 
it is of equal significance with the Lord's day, for the rea- 
son already alleged concerning it. " ^ 

Tertullian in a passage already quoted, which 
by omitting the sentence we are about to quote, 
has been used as the strongest testimony to the 
first-day Sabbath in the fathers, expressly equals 
in sacredness the period of Pentecost — a space of 
fifty days — with the festival which he calls Lord's 
day. Thus he says : — 

"Similarly, too, in the period of Pentecost; which 
period we distinguish by the same solemnity of exaltation." ^ 

He states the same fact in another work : — 

'^ We count fasting or kneeling in worship on the Lord's 
day to be unlawful. We rejoice in the same privilege also 
from Easter to Whitsunday." ' 

Origen classes the so-called Lord's day with 
three other church festivals :— 

"If it be objected to us on this subject that we our- 
selves are accustomed to observe certain days, as for ex- 
ample the Lord's day, the Preparation, the Passover, or 
Pentecost, I have to answer, that to the perfect Cliristian, 
who is ever in his thoughts, words, and deeds, serving 
his natural Lord, God the Word, all his days are the 
Lord's, and he is always keer)ing the Lord's day."* 

Irenseus and Tertullian make the Sunday 
Lord's day equal in sacredness with the period 
from the Passover to the Pentecost ; but Origen, 
after classing the day with several church festi- 

1 Fragment 7. 2 Tertullian on Prayer, chap, xxiii. 

3 De Corona, sect. 3. 

4 Origen against Celsus, book viii. chap. xxii. 

296 HISTORY OF the sabbath. 

vals, virtually confesses that it has no pre-emi- 
nence above other clays. 

Commodianiis, who once uses the term Lord's 
day, speaks of the Catholic festival of the Pass- 
over as " Easter, that day of ours most hlessecV ^ 
This certainly indicates that in his estimation no 
other sacred day was superior in sanctity to 

The " Apostolical Constitutions " treat the Sun- 
day festival in the same manner that it is treated 
by Irenseus and Tertullian. They make it equal 
to the sacredness of the period from Easter to 
the Pentecost. Thus they say : — 

" He will be guilty of sin who fasts on the Lord's day, 
being the day of the resurrection, or during the time of 
Pentecost, or in general, who is sad on a festival day to 
the Lord."" 

These testimonies prove conclusively that the 
festival of Sunday, in the judgment of such men 
as Irenseus, Tertullian, and others, stood in tlie 
same rank with that of Easter, or Whitsunday. 
They had no idea that one was commanded by 
God, while the others were only ordained by the 
church. Indeed, Tertullian, as we have seen, 
expressly declares that there is no precept for 
Sunday observance.^ 

Besides these important facts, we have decisive 
evidence that Sunday was not a day of abstinence 
from labor, and our first witness is Justin, the 
earliest witness to the Sunday festival in the 
Christian church. Trypho the Jew said to Jus- 
tin, by way of reproof, " You observe no festivals 
or Sabbaths."* This was exactly adapted to 

' Instructions of Commodianus, sect. 75. 

- Apostolical Constitutions, book v. sect. 3, par. 20. 

' Ue C'orono, sects. 3 and 4. *» Dialogue with Trypho, chap. x. 


bring out from Justin the statement that, though 
he did not observe the seventh day as the Sab- 
bath, he did thus rest on the first day of the 
week, if it were true that that day was with him 
a day of abstinence from labor. But he gives no 
such answer. He sneers at the very idea of ab- 
stinence from labor, declaring that " God does not 
take pleasure in such observances." Nor does he 
intimate that this is because the Jews did not 
rest upon the right day, but he condemns the 
very idea of refraining from labor for a day, stat- 
ing that "the new law," which has taken the 
place of the commandments given on Sinai ^ re- 
quires a perpetual Sabbath, and this is kept by 
repenting of sin and refraining from its commis- 
sion. Here are his words : — 

''The new law requires you to keep a perpetual Sab- 
bath, and you, because you are idle for one day, suppose 
you are pious, not discerning why this has been com- 
manded you ; and if you eat unleavened bread, you say 
the will of God has been fulfilled. The Lord our God 
does not take pleasure in such observances : if there is 
any perjured person or a thief among you, let him cease 
to be so ; if any adulterer, let him repent ; then'he has 
kept the sweet and true Sabbaths of God."^ 

This language plainly implies that Justin did 
not believe that any day should be kept as a 
Sabbath by abstinence from labor, but that all 
days should be kept as sabbaths by abstinence 
from sin. This testimony is decisive, and it is 
in exact harmony with the facts already adduced 
from the fathers, and with others yet to be pre- 
sented. Moreover, it is confirmed by the express 
testimony of Tertullian. He says : — 

1 Dialogue with Trypho, chap. xi. 2 it|_ chap. xii. 

Sablath History. SO 


''By US (to whom Sabbaths are strange, and the new 
moons, and festivals formerly beloved by God) the Satur- 
nalia and new year's and mid-winter's festivals and Mat- 
ronalia are frequented."^ 

And he adds in the same paragraph, in words 
ah-eady quoted : — 

'' If any indulgence is to be granted to thsjiesh, you have 
it. I will not say your own days, but more too; for to 
the heathens each festive day occurs but once annually ; 
you have a festive day every eighth day."^ 

TertuUian tells his brethren in plain language 
that they kept no sabbaths, but did keep many 
heathen festivals. If the Sunday festival, which 
was a day of " indulgence " to the flesh, and 
which he here mentions as the " eighth day," was 
kept by them as the Christian Sabbath in place 
of the ancient seventh day, then he would not 
have asserted that to us '' sabbaths are strange." 
But TertuUian has precisely the same Sabbatli as 
Justin Mart}^'. He does not keep the first day 
in place of the seventh, but he keeps a " perpet- 
ual sabbath," in which he professes to refrain 
from sin every day, and actually abstains from 
labor on none. Thus, after saying that the Jews 
teach that "from the beginning God sanctified 
the seventh day " and therefore observe that day, 
he says : — 

' ' Whence we [Christians] understand that we still 
more ought to observe a Sabbath from all ' servile work ' 
always, and not only every seventh day, but through all 

TertuUian certainly had no idea that Sunday 
was the Sabbath in any other sense than were 
all the seven days of the week. We shall find a 

» TertuUian on Idolatry, chap. xiv. = Id. lb. 

3 TertuUian Against the Jews, chap. iv. 


decisive confirmation of this when we come to 
quote Tertullian respecting the origin of the 
Sabbath. We shall also find that Clement ex- 
pressly makes Sunday a day of labor. 

Several of the early fathers ^vi'ote in opposition 
to the observance of the seventh day. We now 
give the reasons assigned by each for that oppo- 
sition. The writer called Barnabas did not keep 
the seventh day, not because it was a ceremonial 
ordinance unworthy of being observed by a Chris- 
tian, but because it was so pure an institution 
that even Christians cannot truly sanctify it till 
they are made immortal. Here are his words : — 

' ' Attend, my children, to the meaning of this expres- 
sion, ' He finished in six days.' This implieth that the 
Lord will finish all things in six thousand years, for a day 
is with him a thousand years. And he himself testifieth, 
saying, 'Behold, to-day will be as a thousand years.' 
Therefore, my children, in six days, that is, in six thou- 
sand years, all things will be finished. ' And he rested 
on the seventh day.' This meaneth: When his Son, 
coming [again], shall destroy the time of the wicked man, 
and judge the ungodly, and change the sun, and the 
moon, and the stars, then shall he truly rest on the sev- 
enth day. Moreover, he says, ' Thou shalt sanctify it 
with pure hands and a pure heart.' If, therefore, any 
one can now sanctify the day which God hath sanctified, 
except he is pure in heart in all things, we are deceived. 
Behold, therefore: certainly then one properly resting 
sanctifies it, when we ourselves, having received the 
promise, wickedness no longer existing, and all things 
having been made new by the Lord, shall be able to work 
righteousness. Then we shall be able to sanctify it, hav- 
ing been first sanctified ourselves. Further he says to 
them, ' Your new moons and your sabbaths I cannot en- 
dure. ' Ye perceive how he speaks : Your present sab- 
baths are not acceptable to me, but that is which I have 
made [namely this], when, giving rest to all things, I 
shall make a beginning of the eighth day, that is, a be- 
ginning of another world, wherefore, also, we keep the 


eighth day with joyfulness, the day, also, on which Jesus 
rose again from the dead."^ 

Observe the points embodied in this statement 
of doctrine : 1. He asserts that the six days of 
creation prefigure the six thousand 3^ears which 
our world shall endure in its present state of 
wickedness. 2. He teaches that at the end of 
that period Christ shall come again and make an 
end of wickedness, and " then shall he truly rest 
on the seventh day." 3. That no " one can now 
sanctify the day which God hath sanctified, ex- 
cept he is pure in heart in all things." 4. But 
that cannot be the case until the present world 
shall pass away, " when we ourselves, having re- 
ceived the promise, wickedness no longer exist- 
ing, and all things having been made new by the 
Lord, shall be able to work righteousness. Then 
we shall be able to sanctify it, having been first 
sanctified ourselves." Men cannot, therefore, 
keep the Sabbath while this wicked world lasts. 
5. Therefore, he says, "Your present sabbaths 
are not acceptable," not because they are not 
pure, but because you are not now able to keep 
them as purely as their nature demands. 6. 
That is to say, the keeping of the day which 
God has sanctified is not possible in such a 
wicked world as this. 7. But though the sev- 
enth day cannot now be kept, the eighth day 
can be, and ought to be, because when the seven 
thousand years are past, there will be at the be- 
ginning of the eighth thousand, the new creation. 
8. Therefore, he did not attempt to keep the sev- 
enth day, which God had sanctified ; for that is 
too pure to be kept in the present wicked world, 

1 Epistle of Barnaba?, chap. xv. 


and can only be kept after the Saviour comes at 
the commencement of the seventh thousand 
years; but he kept the eighth day with joyful- 
ness on which Jesus arose from the dead. 9. So 
it appears that the eighth day, which God never 
sanctified, is exactly suitable for observance in 
our world daring its present state of wickedness. 
10. But when all things have been made new, 
and we are able to work righteousness, and wick- 
edness no longer exists, then we shall be able to 
sanctify the seventh day, having first been sanc- 
tified ourselves. 

The reason of Barnabas for not observing the 
Sabbath of the Lord is not that the command- 
ment enjoining it is abolished, but that the insti- 
tution is so pure that men in their present imper- 
fect state cannot acceptably sanctify it. They 
will keep it, however, in the new creation, but in 
the meantime they keep with joyfulness the 
eighth day, which having never been sanctified 
by God is not difficult to keep in the present 
state of wickedness. 

Justin Martyr's reasons for not observing the 
Sabbath are not at all like those of the so-called 
Barnabas, for Justin seems to have heartily de- 
spised the Sabbatic institution. He denies that 
it was obligatory before the time of Moses, and af- 
firms that it was abolished by the advent of 
Christ. He teaches that it was given to the Jews 
because of their wickedness, and he expressly af- 
firms the abolition of both the Sabbath and the 
law. So far is he from teaching the change of 
the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of 
the week, or from making the Sunday festival a 
continuation of the ancient Sabbatic institution, 
that he sneers at the very idea of days of absti- 


nence from labor, or days of idleness, and though 
God gives as his reason for the observance of the 
Sabbath, that that was the day on v/hich he 
rested from all his work, Justin gives as his first 
reason for the Sunday festival that that was the 
day on which God began his work ! Of absti- 
nence from labor as an act of obedience to the 
Sabbath, Justin says : — 

" The Lord our God does not take pleasure in such ob- 

A second reason for not observing the Sabbath 
is thus stated by him : — 

" For we too would observe the fleshly circumcision, 
and the Sabbaths, and in short, all the feasts, if we did 
not know for what reason they were enjoined you — name- 
ly, on account of your transgressions and the hardness of 
your hearts." - 

As Justin never discriminates between the 
Sabbath of the Lord and the annual sabbaths he 
doubtless here means to include it as well as them. 
But what a falsehood is it to assert that the Sab- 
bath was given to the Jews because of their 
wickedness 1 The truth is, it was given to the 
Jews because of the universal apostasy of the 
Gentiles. ^ But in the following paragraph Jus- 
tin gives three more reasons for not keeping the 
Sabbath : — 

" Do you see that the elements are not idle, and keep 
no Sabbaths ? Remain as you were born. For if there 
was no need of circumcision before Abraham, or of the 
observance of Sabbaths, of feasts and sacrilices, before 
Moses ; no more need is there of them now, after that, 
according to the will of God, Jesus Christ the Son of God 

> Dialogue with Trypho, chap. xii. ^Id. chap, xviii. 

■•Sec the third cliapter of this History. 


has been bom without sin, of a virgin sprung from the 
stock of Abraham."^ 

Here are three reasons: 1. "That the elements 
are not idle, and keep no Sabbaths." Though 
this reason is simply worthless as an argument 
against the seventh day, it is a decisive confirma- 
tion of the fact already proven, that Justin did 
not make Sunday a day of abstinence from labor. 
2. His second reason here given is that there was 
no observance of Sabbaths before Moses, and yet 
we do know that God at the beginning did ap- 
point the Sabbath to a holy use, a fact to which 
as we shall see quite a number of the fathers test- 
ify, and we also know that in that age were men 
who kept all the precepts of God. 3. There is 
no need of Sabbatic observance since Christ. 
Though this is mere assertion, it is by no means 
easy for those to meet it fairly who represent 
Justin as maintaining the Christian Sabbath. 

Another argument by Justin against the obli- 
gation of the Sabbath is that God " directs the 
government of the universe on this day equally 
as on all others !"^ as though this were inconsist- 
ent with the present sacredness of the Sabbath, 
when it is also true that God thus governed the 
world in the period when Justin acknowledges 
the Sabbath to have been obligatory. Though 
this reason is trivial as an argument ao^ainst the 
Sabbath, it does show that Justin could have 
attached no Sabbatic character to Sunday. But 
he has yet one more argument against the Sab- 
bath. The ancient law has been done away by 
the new and final law, and the old covenant has 
been superseded by the new. ^ But he forgets 

1 Dialogue with Trypho, chap, xxiii. ^id. chap. xxix. 

"•' Id. chap. xi. 


that the design of the new covenant was not to 
do away with the law of God, but to put that 
law into the heart of every Christian. And many 
of the fathers, as we shall see, expressly repudi- 
ate this doctrine of the abrogation of the Deca- 

Such were Justin's reasons for rejecting the 
ancient Sabbath. But though he was a decided 
asserter of the abrogation of the law, and of the 
Sabbatic institution itself, and kept Sunday only 
as a festival, modern first-day writers cite him 
as a witness in support of the doctrine that the 
first day of the week should be observed as the 
Christian Sabbath on the authority of the fourth 

Now let us learn what stood in the way of 
Irenseus' observance of the Sabbath. It was not 
that the commandments were abolished, for we 
shall presently learn that he taught their perpe- 
tuity. Nor was it that he believed in the change 
of the Sabbath, for he gives no hint of such an 
idea. The Sunday festival in his estimation ap- 
pears to have been simply of " equal significance" 
with the Pentecost. ^ Nor was it that Christ 
broke the Sabbath, for Iren^eus says that he did 
not. ^ But because the Sabbath is called a sign 
he reofarded it as sio^nificant of the future kinor- 
dom, and appears to have considered it no lon- 
ger obligatory, though he does not expressly say 
this. Thus he sets forth the meaningr of the Sab- 
bath as held by him : — 

•'Moreover the Sabbaths of God, that is, the Jcmgdom, 
was, as it were, indicated by created things," etc. ^ 

» Lost Writings of Irenteus, Fragment 7. 

2 Against Heresies, book iv. chap. viii. sect. 2. 

2 Id. book iv. chap. xvi. sect. 1. 


"These [promises to the righteous] are [to take place] 
in the times of the kingdom, that is, upon the seventh day 
^hich has been sanctified, in which God rested from all 
the works which he created, which is the true Sabbath of 
the righteous,"^ etc. 

*'For the day of the Lord is as a thousand years : and 
in six days created things were completed : it is evident, 
therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thou- 
sand year." ^ 

But Irenieus did not notice that the Sabbath 
as a sign does not point forward to the restitution, 
but backward to the creation, that it may signify 
that the true God is the Creator. ^ Nor did he 
observe the fact that when the kingdom of God 
shall be established under the whole heaven all 
flesh shall hallow the Sabbath. ^ 

But he says that those who lived before Moses 
were justified "without observance of Sabbaths," 
and offers as proof that the covenant at Horeb 
was not made with the fathers. Of course if this 
proves that the patriarchs were free from obliga- 
tion toward the fourth commandment, it is equal- 
ly good as proof that they might violate any 
other. These things indicate that Irenaeus was 
opposed to Sabbatic observance, though he did 
not in express language assert its abrogation, and 
did in most decisive terms assert the continued 
obligation of the ten commandments. 

Tertullian offers numerous reasons for not ob- 
serving the Sabbath, but there is scarcely one of 
these that he does not in some other place ex- 
pressly contradict. Thus he asserts that the pa- 
triarchs before Moses did not observe the Sab- 

ilren^eus against Heresies, book v. chap, xxxiii. sect. 2. 

2 Id. book. V. chap, xxviii. sect. 3. 

3 Ex. 31 :17; Eze. 20:12, 20. 
<Isa. 66:22, 23; Dan. 7:18, 27. 


bath. ^ But he offers no proof, and he elsewhere 
dates the origin of the Sabbath at the creation, ^ 
as we shall show hereafter. In several places he 
teaches the abrogation of the law, and seems to 
set aside moral law as well as ceremonial. But 
elsewhere, as we shall show, he bears express 
testimony that the ten commandments are still 
bindinor as the rule of the Christian's life. ^ He 
quotes the words of Isaiah in which God is rep- 
resented as hating the feasts, new-moons, and 
sabbaths observed by the Jews, * as proof that 
the seventh-day Sabbath was a temporary insti- 
tution which Christ abrogated. But in another 
place he says : " Christ did not at all rescind the 
Sabbath: he kept the law thereof" ^ And he also 
explains this very text by stating that God's aver- 
sion toward the Sabbaths observed by the Jews 
was " because they were celebrated without the 
fear of God by a people full of iniquities," and 
adds that the prophet, in a later passage speaking 
of Sabbaths celebrated according to God's com- 
mandment, " declares them to be true, delightful, 
and inviolable." ^ Another statement is that 
Joshua violated the Sabbath in the siege of Jer- 
icho. ^ Yet he elsewhere explains this very case, 
showing that the commandment forbids our own 
work, not God's. Those who acted at Jericho did 
" not do their own work, but God's, which they 

1 Answer to the Jews, chap. ii. 

^TertuUian against Marcion, book iv. chap. xii. 

3 Compare his works as follows : Answer to the Jews, chaps, ii. 
iii. iv. vi.; Against Marcion, book i. chap. xx. ; book v. chaps, iv. 
xix. with I)e Anima, chap, xxxvii. ; and, On Modesty, chap. v. 

"Lsa. 1:13, 14. 

* Answer to the Jews, chap, iv. ; Against Marcion, book iv. 
chap. xii. « Isa. 5G : 2; 58 : 13. 

T Answer to the Jews, chap. iv. ; Against Marcion, book iv. 
chap. xii. 


executed, and that, too, from his express com- 
mandment." ^ He also both asserts and denies 
that Christ violated the .Sabbath.^ Tertullian 
was a double-minded man. He wrote much 
against the law and the Sabbath, but he also 
contradicted and exposed his own errors. 

Origen attempts to prove that the ancient Sab- 
bath is to be understood mystically or spiritually, 
and not literally. Here is his argument : — 

" * Ye shall sit, every one in yonr dwellings : no one 
shall move from his place on the Sabbath day.' Which 
precept it is impossible to observe literally ; for no man 
can sit a whole day so as not to move from the place 
where he sat down." ^ 

Great men arc not always wise. There is no 
such precept in the Bible. Origen referred to 
that which forbade the people to go out for man- 
na on the Sabbath, but which did not conflict 
with another that commanded holy convocations 
or assemblies for worship on the Sabbath. * 

Victorinus is the latest of the fathers before 
Constantino who offers reasons against the ob- 
servance of the Sabbath. His first reason is that 
Christ said by Isaiah that his soul hated the Sab- 
bath ; which Sabbath he in his body abolished ; 
and these assertions we have seen answered by 
Tertullian.^ His second reason is that "Jesus 
[Joshua] the son of Nave [Nun], the successor of 
Moses, himself broke the Sabbath day," ^ which 
is false. His third reason is that " Matthias [a 
Maccabean] also, prince of Judah, broke the 
Sabbath," *" wliich is doubtless false, but is of no 

1 Against Marcion, book ii. chap. xxi. 

3 Against Marcion, book iv. chap. xii. 

3 De Priucipiis, book iv. chap. i. sect. 17. 

•» Ex. 16 : 29 ; Lev. 23 : 3. s Creation of the World, sect. 4. 

« Id. sect. r.. Ud. lb. 


consequence as authority. His fourth argument 
is original, and may fitly close the list of reasons 
assigned in the early fathers for not observing 
the Sabbath. It is given in full without an an- 
swer : — 

' ' And in Matthew we read, that it is ■v\Titten Isaiah al- 
so and the rest of his colleagues broke the Sabbath."^ 



The first reasons for neglecting the Sabbath are now mostly 
obsolete — A portion of the early fathers taught the perpe- 
tuity of the decalogue, and made it the standard of moral 
character — What they say concerning the origin of the 
Sabbath at Creation — Their testimony concerning the per- 
petuity of the ancient Sabbath, and concerning its observ- 
ance — Enumeration of the things which caused the sup- 
pression of the Sabbath and the elevation of Sunday. 

The reasons offered by the early fathers for 
neglecting the observance of the Sabbath show 
conclusively that they had no special light on the 
subject by reason of living in the first centuries, 
which we in this later age do not possess. The 
fact is, so many of the reasons offered by them 
are manifestly false and absurd that those who 
in these days discard the Sabbath, do also dis- 
card the most of the reasons offered by these 
fathers for this same course. We have also 
learned from such of the early fathers as mention 
first-day observance, the exact nature of the Sun- 

1 Creation of the World, sect. 5. 


day festival, and all the reasons which in the first 
centuries were offered in its support. Yery few 
indeed of these reasons are now offered by mod- 
ern first-day writers. 

But some of the fathers bear emphatic testi- 
mony to the perpetuity of the ten command- 
ments, and make their observance the condition 
of eternal life. Some of them also distinctly as- 
sert the origin of the Sabbath at creation. Sev- 
eral of them moreover either bear witness to the 
existence of Sabbath-keepers, or bear decisive 
testimony to the perpetuity and obligation of the 
Sabbath, or define the nature of proper Sabbatic 
observance, or connect the observance of the Sab- 
bath and first day together. Let us now hear 
the testimony of those who assert the authority 
of the ten commandments. Iren?eus asserts their 
perpetuity, and makes them a test of Christian 
character. Thus he says : — 

'Tor God at the first, indeed, warning them [the Jews] 
by means of natural precepts, which /ro?>i the beginning he 
had implanted in nuinkind, that is, by means of the Deca- 
logue {which, if any one does not observe, he has no salva- 
tion), did then demand nothing more of them."^ 

This is a very strong statement. He makes 
the ten commandments the law of nature implant- 
ed in man's being at the beginning ; and so in- 
herited by all mankind. This is no doubt true. 
It is the presence of the carnal mind or law of 
sin and death, implanted in man by the fall, that 
has partially obliterated this law, and made the 
work of the new covenant a necessity.^ He again 
asserts the perpetuity and authority of the ten 
commandments : — 

1 Irenfeus Against Heresies, book iv. cliap. xv. sect. 1. 

2 Jer. 31 : S3; Rom. 7 : 21-25 : 8 : 1-7. 


'' Preparing man for this life, the Lord himself did 
speak in his own person to all alike the words of the Dec- 
alogue : and therefore, in like manner, do they remain 
permanently with us, receiving, bymeans of his advent in 
the flesh, extension and increase, but not abrogation."^ 

By the " extension " of the decalogue, Irenseus 
doubtless means the exposition which the Saviour 
gave of the meaning of the commandments in his 
sermon on the mount.^ Theophilus speaks in 
like manner concerninor the decaloofue : — 

" For God has given us a law and holy commandments ; 
and every one who keeps these can be saved, and, obtaining 
the resurrection, can inherit incorruption. " ^ 

''We have learned a holy law ; but we have as Law- 
giver him who is really God, who teaches us to act right- 
eously, and to be pious, and to do good."* 

" Of this great and wonderful law which tends to all 
righteousness, the ten heads are such as we have already 
rehearsed. "° 

TertuUian calls the ten commandments "the 
rules of our regenerate life," that is to say, the 
rules which govern the life of a converted man : — 

' ' They who theorize respecting numbers, honor the 
number ten as the parent of all the others, and as impart- 
ing perfection to the human nativity. For my own part, I 
prefer viewing this measure of time in reference to God, 
as if implying that the ten months rather initiated man 
into the ten commandments ; so that the numerical estimate 
of the time needed to consummate our natural birth should 
correspond to the numerical classification of the rules of 
our regenerate life.^^ ^ 

In showing the deep guilt involved in the vio- 

1 Irenaeus Against Heresies, book iv. chap. xvi. sect. 4. 

'Matt, chapters 5, G, 7. 

3 Theophilus to Autolycus, book ii. chap, xxvii. 

* Id. book iii. chap. ix. 

''Id. lb. * De Aniina, chap, xxxvii. 


lation of the seventh commandment, Tertullian 
speaks of the sacredness of the commandments 
which precede it, naming several of them in par- 
ticular, and among them the fourth, and then 
sa^^s of the precept against adultery that 

It stands "in the very forefront of the most holy law, 
among the priniary counts of the celestial edict.^^^ 

Clement of Rome, or rather the author whose 
works have been ascribed to this father, speaks 
thus of the decalogue as a test : — 

"On account of those, therefore, who, by neglect of 
their own salvation, please the evil one, and those who, 
by study of their own proj&t, seek to please the good One, 
ten things have been prescribed as a test to this present 
age, according to the number of the ten plagues which 
were brought upon Egypt. "^ 

Novatian, who wrote about A. D. 250, is ac- 
counted the founder of the sect called Cathari or 
Paritans. He wrote a treatise on the Sabbath, 
which is not extant. There is no reference to 
Sunday in any of his writings. He makes the 
followinor strikinor remarks concerninor the moral 

o o 

law : — 

"The law was given to the children of Israel for this 
purpose, that they might profit by it, and return to 
those virtuous manners which, although they had received 
them from their fathers, they had corrupted in Egypt 
by reason of their intercourse with a barbarous people. 
Finally, also, those ten commandments on the tables teach 
nothing neiv, but remind them of what had, been obliterated 
— that righteousness in them, which had been put to sleep, 
might revive again as it were by the afflatus of the law, 
after the manner of a fire [nearly extinguished]." ^ 

It is evident that in the judgment of Novatian, 

1 On Modesty, chap. v. 

2 Recognitions of Clement, book iii. chap. Iv. 

3 Novatian on the Jewish Meats, chap. iii. 


the ten commandments enjoined nothing that 
was not sacredly regarded by the patriarchs be- 
fore Jacob went down into Egypt. It follows, 
therefore, that, in his opinion, the Sabbath was 
made, not at the fall of the manna, but when God 
sanctified the seventh day, and that holy men 
from the earliest ages observed it. 

The Apostolical Constitutions, written about 
the third century, give us an understanding of 
what was widely regarded in the third century 
as apostolic doctrine. They speak thus of the 
ten commandments : — 

"Have before thine eyes the fear of God, and ahvays 
remember the ten commandments of God, — to love the 
one and only Lord God with all thy strength ; to give no 
heed to idols, or any other beings, as being lifeless gods, 
or irrational beings or daemons." ^ 

' ' He gave a plain law to assist the law of nature, such 
a one as is pure, saving, and holy, in which his own. name 
was inscribed, perfect, which is never to fail, being com-, 
plete in ten commands, unspotted, converting souls."' 

This writer, like Irenieus, believed in the iden- 
tity of the decalogue with the law of nature. 
These testimonies show that in the writings of 
the early fathers are some of the strongest utter- 
ances in behalf of the perpetuity and authority 
of the ten commandments. Now let us hear 
what they say concerning the origin of the Sab- 
bath at creation. The epistle ascribed to Barna- 
bas, says : — 

''And he says in another place, 'If my sons keep the 
Sabbath, then will I cause my mercy to rest upon them. ' 
The Sabbath is mentioned at the beginning of the creation 
[thus] : ' And God made in six days the works of his 

Apostolical Constitutions, book ii. sect. 4, par. 3-' 

Id. book vi. sect, i, par. 1^'. 


hands, and made an end on the seventh day, and rested 
on it, and sanctified it.' " ^ 

Irenseus seems plainly to connect the origin of 
the Sabbath with the sanctification of the sev- 
enth day : — 

" These [things promised] are [to take place] in the 
times of the kingdom, that is, upon the seventh day, 
which has been sanctified, in wliich God rested from all 
his works which he created, which is the true Sabbath, in 
which they shall not be engaged in any earthly occupa- 

Tertullian, likewise, refers the origin of the 
Sabbath to " the benediction of the Father ": — 

"But inasmuch as birth is also completed with the 
seventh month, I more readily recognize in this number 
than in the eighth the honor of a numerical agreement 
with the Sabbatical period ; so that the month in which 
God's image is sometimes produced in a human birth, 
shall in its number tally with the day on which God's 
creation was completed and hallowed." ^ 

*'For even in the case before us he [Christ] fulfilled 
the law, while interpreting its condition ; [moreover] he 
exhibits in a clear light the difi'erent kinds of work, while 
doing what the law excepts from the sacredness of the 
Sabbath, [and] while imparting to the Sabbath day itself 
which from the beginning had been consecrated by the bene- 
diction of the Fcither, an additional sanctity by his own 
beneficent action." * 

Origen, who, as we have seen, believed in a 
mystical Sabbath, did nevertheless fix its origin 
at the sanctification of the seventh day : — 

''For he [Celsus] knows nothing of the day of the Sab- 
bath and rest of God, which follows the completion of the 

1 Epistle of Barnabas, chap. xv. 

^Ireuseus Against Heresies, bookv. chap, xxxiii. sect. 

3 De Anima, chap, xxxvii. 

4 Tertullian Against Marcion, book iv. chap. xii. 

Sabbatli History. 31 


world's creation, and wliicli lasts during the duration of 
the world, and in which all those w^ill keep festival with 
God who have done all their works in their six days."^ 

The testimony of Novatian which has been 
given relative to the sacredness and authority of 
the decalogue plainly implies the existence of the 
Sabbath in the patriarchal ages, and its observ- 
ance by those holy men of old. It was given to 
Israel that they might "return to those virtu- 
ous manners which, although they had received 
them from their fathers, they had corrupted in 
Egypt." And he adds, "Those ten command- 
ments on the tables teach nothing new, but re- 
mind them of what had been obliterated."^ He 
did not, therefore, believe the Sabbath to have 
originated at the fall of the manna, but counted 
it one of those things which were practiced by 
their fathers before Jacob went down to Egypt. 

Lactantius places the origin of the Sabbath at 
creation : — 

'* God completed the world and this admirable work of 
nature in the space of six days (as is contained in the 
secrets of holy Scriptui-e) and consecrated the seventh 
day on which he had rested from his works. But this is 
the Sabbath day, which, in the language of the Hebrews, 
received its name from the number, w^hence the seventh is 
the legitimate and complete number. " ^ 

In a poem on Genesis written about the time 
of Lactantius, but by an unknown author, we have 
an explicit testimony to the divine appointment 
of the seventh day to a holy use while man was 
yet in Eden, the garden of God : — 

1 Origen Against Celsus, book vi. chap. Ixi. 

"Novatian on the Jewish Meats, chap. iii. 

"Divine Ingtitutea of Lactantius, book vii. chiip. xiv 


' ' The seventh came, when God 
At his work's end did rest, decreeing it 
Sacred unto the coming age's joys." ^ 

The Apostolical Constitutions, while teaching 
the present obligation of the Sabbath, plainly in- 
dicate its origin to have been at creation : — 

^'0 Lord Almighty, thou hast created the world by 
Christ, and hast appointed the Sahhath hi memory thereof, 
because that on that day thou hast made us rest from our 
works, for the meditation upon thy laws."^ 

Such are the testimonies of the early fathers 
to the primeval origin of the Sabbath, and to the 
sacredness and perpetual obligation of the ten 
commandments. We now call attention to what 
they say relative to the perpetuity of the Sab- 
bath, and to its observance in the centuries dur- 
ing which they lived. Tertullian defines Christ's 
relation to the Sabbath : — 

" He was called ^ Lord of the Sabbath ' because he 
maintained the Sabbath as his own institution."^ 

He affirms that Christ did not abolish the Sab- 
bath : — 

' ' Christ did not at all rescind the Sabbath : he kept the 
law thereof, and both in the former case did a work 
which was beneficial to the life of his disciples (for he in- 
dulged them with the relief of food when they were hun- 
gry), and in the present instance cured the withered 
hand ; in each case intimating by facts, ' I came not to 
destroy the law, but to fulfill it.' " * 

Nor can it be said that while Tertullian denied 
that Christ abolished the Sabbath he did believe 
that he transferred its sacredness from the seventh 

1 Poem on Genesis, Lines 51-53. 

2 Apostolical Constitutions, book vii. sect. 2, par. 36. 
* Tertullian Against Marcion, book iv. chap. xii. 

4 Id. lb. 


day of the week to the first, for he continues 
thus : — 

" He [Christ] exhibits in a clear light the different 
kinds of work, while doing what the law excepts from the 
sacredness of the Sabbath, [and] while imparting to the 
Sabbath day itself, which from the beginning had been 
consecrated by the benediction of the Father, an addi- 
tional sanctity by his own beneficent action. For he fur- 
nished to this day divine safeguards — a course which his 
adversary vMuld have pursued for some other days, to avoid 
honoring the Creator's Sabbath, and restoring to the Sab- 
bath the works which were proper for it." ^ 

This is a very remarkable statement. The 
modern doctrine of the change of the Sabbath 
was unknown in Tertullian's time. Had it then 
been in existence, there could be no doubt that in 
the words last quoted he was aiming at it a heavy 
blow ; for the very thing which he asserts Christ's 
adversary, Satan, would have had him do, that 
modern first-day writers assert he did do in conse- 
crating another day instead of adding to the sanc- 
tity of his Father's Sabbath. 

Archelaus of Cascar in IVIesopotamia emphatic- 
ally denies the abolition of the Sabbath : — 

' ' Again, as to the assertion that the Sabbath has been 
abolished, we deny that he has abolished it plainly ; for 
he was himself also Lord of the Sabbath." " 

Justin IVIartyr, as we have seen, was an out- 
spoken opponent of Sabbatic observance, and of 
the authority of the law of God. He was by no 
means always candid in what he said. He has 
occasion to refer to those who observed the sev- 
enth day, and he does it with contempt. Thus 
he says : — 

1 Tertnllian Against Marcion, book iv, cUap. xii. 
- Disputation with Manes, sect. 42. 


" But if some, through weak-raindedness, Avish to ol3- 
serve such institutions as were given by Moses (from 
which they expect some virtue, but which vre believe 
were appointed by reason of the hardness of the j)eople's 
hearts), along with their hope in this Christ, and [wish to 
perform] the eternal and natural acts of righteousness 
and piety, yet choose to live with the Christians and the 
faithful, as I said before, not inducing them either to be 
circumcised like themselves, or to keep the Sabbath, or 
to observe any other such ceremonies, then I hold that 
we ought to join ourselves to such, and associate with 
them in all things as kinsmen and bretliren."^ 

These words are spoken of Sabbath-keeping 
Christians. Such of them as were of Jewish de- 
scent no doubt generally retained circumcision. 
But there were many Gentile Christians who ob- 
served the Sabbath, as we shall see, and it is not 
true that they observed circumcision. Justin 
speaks of this class as acting from " weak-mind- 
edness," yet he inadvertently alludes to the keep- 
ing of the commandments as the performance of 
" the ETERNAL and natural acts of righteous- 
ness," a most appropriate designation indeed. 
Justin would fellowship those who act thus, pro- 
vided they would fellowship him in the contrary 
course. But though Justin, on this condition, 
could fellowship these " weak-minded " brethren, 
he says that there are those who ''do not venture 
to have any intercourse ivith, or to extend hospi- 
tality to, such 2^ersons ; but I do not agree with 
them."^ This shows the bitter spirit which pre- 
vailed in some quarters toward the Sabbath, 
even as early as Justin's time. Justin has 
no word of condemnation for these intolerant 
professors ; he is only solicitous lest those per- 

1 Dialogue with Trvpho, chap, xlvii. 

2 Id. lb. 


sons wlio perform " the eternal and natural acts 
of righteousness and piety" should condemn 
those who do not perform them. 

Clement of Alexandria, though a mystical 
writer, bears an important testimony to the per- 
petuity of the ancient Sabbath, and to man's 
present need thereof He comments thus on the 
fourth commandment : — 

" And the fourth word is that which intimates that the 
world was created by God, and that he gave us the seventh 
day as a rest, on account of the trouble that there is in 
life. For God is incapable of weariness, and suffering, 
and want. But we ivho hear flesh need rest. The seventh 
day, therefore, is proclaimed a rest — abstraction from ills 
— preparing for the primal day, our true rest. " ^ 

Clement recognized the authority of the moral 
law ; for he treats of the ten commandments, one 
by one, and shows what each enjoins. He plain- 
ly teaches that the Sabbath was made for man, 
and that he now needs it as a day of rest, and 
his language implies that it was made at the 
creation. But in the next paragraph, he makes 
some curious suggestions, which deserve no- 
tice : — 

" Having reached this point, we must mention these 
things by the way ; since the discourse has turned on the 
seventh and the eighth. For the eighth may possibly 
turn out to be properly the seventh, and the seventh 
manifestly the sixth, and the latter properly the Sabbath, 
and the seventh a day of work. For the creation of the 
world was concluded in six days."" 

This language has been adduced to show that 
Clement called the eighth day, or Sunday, tlie 
Sabbath. But first-day writers in general have 
not dared to commit themselves to such an in- 

> Clement's ilisccllanies, book vi. chap. xvi. -Id. lb. 


terpretation, and some of them have expressly 
discarded it. Let us notice this statement with 
especial care. He speaks of the ordinals seventh 
and eighth in the abstract, but probably with ref- 
erence to the days of the v/eek. Observe then, 

1. That he does not intimate that the eighth 
day has become the Sabbath in place of the sev- 
enth which was once such, but he says that the 
eighth day may possibly turn out to be properly 
the seventh. 

2. That in Clement's time, A. D. 104, there was 
not any confusion in the minds of men as to 
which day was the ancient Sabbath, and which 
one was the first day of the week, or eighth day, 
as it was often called, nor does he intimate that 
there was, 

3. But Clement, from some cause, says that pos- 
sibly the eighth day should be counted the sev- 
enth, and the seventh day the sixth. Now, if 
this should be done, it would change the num- 
bering of the days, not only as far back as the 
resurrection of Christ, but all the way back to 
the creation, 

4. If, therefore, Clement, in this place, designed 
to teach that Sunday is the Sabbath, he must 
also have held tliat it always had been such. 

5. But observe that, while he changes the 
numbering of the days of the week, he does not 
change the Sabbath from one day to another. 
He says the eighth may possibly be the seventh, 
and the seventh, properly the sixth, and the lat- 
ter, or this one [Greek, ') /^^^ i^^'P^^^ -"^'^-'"^ adi33arov,-j^ 
properly the Sabbath, and the seventh a day of 

6. By the latter must be understood the day 
last mentioned, which he says should be called, 


not tlie seventh, but the sixth ; and by the sev- 
enth must certainly be intended that day which 
he says is not the eighth, but the seventh, that is 
to say, Sunda}?. 

There remains but one difficulty to be solved, 
and that is why he should suggest the changing 
of the numbering of the days of the week by 
striking one from the count of each day, thus 
making the Sabbath the sixth day in the count 
instead of the seventh ; and making Sunday the 
seventh day in the count instead of the eighth. 
The answer seems to have eluded the observation 
of the first-day and anti- Sabbatarian writers who 
liave sought to grasp it. But there is a fact 
which solves the difficulty. Clement s commen- 
tary on the fourth commandment, from which 
these quotations are taken, is principally made 
up of curious observations on " the perfect num- 
ber six," "the number seven motherless and 
childless," and the number eight, which is " a 
cube," and the like matters, and is taken with 
some chancre of arranorement almost word for 
word from Philo Jud?eus, a teacher who flour- 
ished at Alexandria about one century before 
Clement. Whoever will take pains to compare 
these two writers will find in Philo nearly all 
the ideas and illustrations which Clement has 
used, and the very language also in which he has 
expressed them.^ Philo was a mystical teacher 
to whom Clement looked up as to a master. A 
statement which we find in Philo, in immediate 
connection with several curious ideas, which 

1 Compare Clement of Alexandria, vol. ii. pp. 386-390, Ante- 
Nicene library edition, or the Miscellanies of Clement, book vi. 
chap. xvi. wit"h Bohn's edition of Philo, vol. i. pp. 3, 4, 29, 80, 81, 
32, 54, 55 ; vol. iii. p. 159 ; vol. iv. p. 452. 


Clement quotes from him, gives, beyond all 
doubt, the key to Clement's suggestion that pos- 
sibly the eighth day should be called the seventh, 
and the seventh day called the sixth. Phiio said 
that, according to God's purpose, the first day of 
time was not to be numbered with the other 
days of the creation week. Thus he says : — 

'^ And he allotted each of the six days to one of the 
portions of the whole, taking out the first day, which 
he does not even call the first day, that it may not be 
numbered with the others, but entithng it one, he names 
it rightly, perceiving in it, and ascribing to it, the nature 
and appellation of the limit. "^ 

This would simply change the numbering of 
the days, as counted by Philo, and afterward 
partially adopted by Clement, and make the 
Sabbath, not the seventh day, but the sixth, and 
Sunday, not the eighth day, but the seventh ; but 
it would still leave the Sabbath day and the 
Sunday the same identical days as before. It 
would, however, give to the Sabbath the name of 
sixth day, because the first of the six days of 
creation was not counted; and it would cause 
the eighth day, so called in the early church be- 
cause of its coming next after the Sabbath, to be 
called seventh day. Thus the Sabbath would 
be the sixth day, and the seventh a day of work, 
and yet the Sabbath would be the identical day 
that it had ever been, and the Sunday, though 
called seventh day, would still, as ever before, re- 
main a day on which ordinary labor was lawful. 
Of course, Philo's idea that the first day of time 
should not be counted, is wholly false ; for there 
is not one fact in the Bible to support it, but 

1 Bohn's edition of Philo Judseus, vo\ i. p. 4. 


many which expressly contradict it, and even 
Clement, with all deference to Philo, only timidly 
suggests it. But when the matter is laid open, 
it shows that Clement had no thought of callinsj 
Sunday the Sabbath, and that he does expressly 
confirm what we have fully proved out of other of 
the fathers, that Sunday was a day on which, in 
their judgment, labor was not sinful. 

Tertullian, at different periods of his life, held 
different views respecting the Sabbath, and com- 
mitted them all to writing. We last quoted from 
him a decisive testimony to the perpetuity of the 
Sabbath, coupled with an equally decisive testi- 
mony against the sanctification of the first day 
of the week. In another work, from which Ave 
have already quoted his statement that Chris- 
tians should not kneel on Sunda}^ we find an- 
other statement that " some few " abstained from 
kneeling on the Sabbath. This has probable 
reference to Carthage, where Tertullian lived. 
He speaks thus : — 

" In the matter of kneeling also, praj^er is subject to 
diversity of observance, through the act of some few who 
abstain from kneeling on the Sabbath ; and since this dis- 
sension is particularly on its trial before the churches, 
the Lord will give his grace that the dissentients may ei- 
ther yield, or else indulge their opinion without oflfense 
to others."^ 

The act of standing in prayer was one of the 
chief honors conferred upon Sunday. Those who 
refrained from kneeling on the seventh day, with- 
out doul)t did it because they desired to honor 
that day. This particular act is of no conse- 
quence ; for it was adopted in imitation of those 
who, from tradition and custom, thus honored 

' Tertullian on Prayer, chap, xxiii. 


Sunday ; but we have in this an undoubter] ref- 
erence to Sabbath-keeping Christians. Tertul- 
lian speaks of them, hov/ever, in a manner quite 
unlike that of Justin in his reference to the com- 
mandment-keepers of his time. 

Origen, like many other of the fathers, was far 
from being consistent with himself Though he 
has spoken against Sabbatic observance, and has 
honored the so-called Lord's day as something 
better than the ancient Sabbath, he has never- 
theless given a discourse expressly designed to 
teach Christians the proper method of observ- 
ing the Sabbath. Here is a portion of this ser- 
mon: — 

" But what is the feast of the Sabbath except that of 
which the apostle speaks, ' There remaineth therefore a 
Sabbatism,' that is, the observance of the Sabbath by the 
people of God? Leaving the Jewish observances of the 
Sabbath, let us see how the Sabbath ought to be observed 
by a Christian. On the Sabbath day all worldly labors 
ought to be abstained from. If, therefore, you cease 
from all secular works, and execute nothing worldly, but 
give yourselves up to spiritual exercises, repairing to 
cliurch, attending to sacred reading and instruction, 
thinking of celestial things, solicitous for the future, 
placing the Judgment to come before your eyes, not look- 
ing to things present and visible, but to those which are 
future and invisible, this is the observance of the Chris- 
tian Sabbath."^ 

1 Origen'' $ Opfira, Tome 2, p. 353, Paris, 1733, " Quse est autetn 
festivitas Sabbati nisi ilia dequa Apostolus dicit, 'relinqueretur er- 
go Sabbatismus,' hoc est, Sabbati observatio, ' populo Dei "? Re- 
linquentes ergo Judaicas Sabbati observationes, qualis debeat 
esse Christiano Sabbati observatio, videamus. Die Sabbati nihil 
ex omnibus mundi actibus oportet operari. Si ergo desinas ab 
omnibus sascularibus operibus, et nihil mundanum geras, ?ed 
spiritalibus operibus vaces, ad ecclesiam conveuias, lectionibus 
divinis et tractatibus aurem prjebeas, et de coelestibus cogites, de 
futura spe soUicitudinem geras, venturum judicium prje oculis 
habeas, non respicias ad prse scntia et visibilia, sed ad invisibilia 
et futura, hjec est observatio Sabbati Christiani." — Origenis in 
Kumerm Homilia 23. 


This is by no means a bad representation of 
the proper observance of the Sabbath. Such a 
discourse addressed to Christians is a strong evi- 
dence that many did then hallow that day. 
Some, indeed, have claimed that these words 
were spoken concerning Sunday. They would 
have it that he contrasts the observance of the 
first day with that of the seventh. But the con- 
trast is not between the different methods of 
keeping two days, but between two methods of 
observing one day. The Jews in Origen's time 
spent the day mainly in mere abstinence from 
labor, and often added sensuality to idleness. 
But the Christians were to observe it in divine 
worship, as well as sacred rest. What day he 
intends cannot be doubtful. It is dies Sabbati, 
a term which can signify only the seventh day. 
Here -is the first instance of the term Christian 
Sabbath, Sabbati Christiani, and it is expressly 
applied to the seventh day observed by Christians. 

The longer form of the reputed epistle of Ig- 
natius to the Magnesians was not written till 
after Origen's time, but, though not written by 
Ignatius, it is valuable for the light which it 
sheds upon the existing state of things at the 
time of its composition, and for marking the 
progress which apostasy had made with respect 
to the Sabbath. Here is its reference to the Sab- 
bath and first day : — 

''Let us therefore no loiifjer keep tlie Sabbath after 
the Jewish manner, and rejoice in days of idleness ; for 
* he that does not work, let him not eat.' For say the 
[lioly] oracles, ' In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat 
thy bread.' But let every one of you keep the Sabbath 
after a spiritual manner, rejoicing in meditation on the 
law, not in relaxation of the body, admii'ing the work- 
manship of God, and not eating things prepared the day 


before, nor using lukewarm drinks, and walking within a 
prescribed space, nor finding delight in dancing and 
plaudits which have no sense in them. And after the ob- 
servance of the Sabbath, let every friend of Christ keep 
the Lord's day as a festival, the resurrection day, the 
queen and chief of all the days [of the week]. Looking 
forward to this, the prophet declared, ' To the end, for 
the eighth day, ' on which our life both sprang up again, 
and the victory over death was obtained in Christ."^ 

This writer specifies the different things which 
made up the Jewish observance of the Sabbath. 
They may be summed up under two heads. 1. 
Strict abstinence from labor. 2. Dancing and 
carousal. Now, in the light of what Origen has 
said, we can understand the contrast which this 
writer draws between the Jewish and Christian 
observance of the Sabbath. The error of the Jews 
in the first part of this was that they contented 
themselves with mere bodily relaxation, without 
raising their thoughts to God, the Creator, and this 
mere idleness soon gave place to sensual folly. 

The Christian, as Origen draws the contrast, 
refrains from labor on the Sabbath that he may 
raise his heart in grateful worship. Or, as this 
writer draws it, the Christian keeps the Sabbath 
in a spiritual manner, rejoicing in meditation on 
the law ; but to do thus, he must hallow it in 
the manner which that law commands, that is, 
in the observance of a sacred rest which com- 
memorates the rest of the Creator. The writer 
evidently believed in the observance of the Sab- 
bath as an act of obedience to that law on which 
they were to meditate on that day. And the 
nature of the epistle indicates that it was ob- 
served, at all events, in the country where it was 

1 Epistle to the Magnesians (longer form) cliap. ix. 


written. But mark the work of apostasy. The 
so-called Lord's day for which the writer could 
offer nothing better than an argument drawn 
from the title of the sixth psalm (see its mar- 
ginal reading) is expJted above the Lord's holy 
day, and made the queen of all days ! 

The Apostolical Constitutions, though not 
wiitten in apostolic times, were in existence as 
early as the third century, and were then very 
generally believed to express the doctrine of the 
apostles. They do therefore furnish important 
historical testimony to the practice of the church 
at that time, and also indicate the great progress 
which apostasy had made. Guericke speaks thus 
of them : — 

' ' This is a collection of ecclesiastical statutes purport- 
ing to be the work of the apostolic age, but in reality- 
formed gradually in the second, third, and fourth centu- 
ries, and is of much value in reference to the history of 
polity, and Christian archteology generally."^ 

Mosheim says of them : — 

" The matter of this work is unquestionably ancient ; 
since the manners and discipline of which it exhibits a 
view are those which prevailed amongst the Christians 
of the second and third centuries, especially those resi- 
dent in Greece and the oriental regions." ^ 

These Constitutions indicate that the Sabbath 
was extensively observed in the third century. 
They also show the standing of the Sunday fes- 
tival in that century. After solemnly enjoining 
the sacred observance of the ten commandments, 
they thus enforce the Sabbath : — 

"Consider the manifold workmanship of God, which 
received its beginning through Christ. Thou shalt ob- 

» Ancient Church, p. 212. 

2 Historical Commentaries, cent. 1. sect. 51. 


serve the Sabbath, on account of Him who ceased from 
his work of creation, but ceased not from his work of 
providence : it is a rest for meditation of the law, not for 
idleness of the hands. "^ 

This is sound Sabbatarian doctrine. To show 
how distinctly these Constitutions recognize the 
decalogue as the foundation of Sabbatic author- 
ity we quote the words next preceding the above, 
though we have quoted them on another occa- 
sion : — 

"Have before thine eyes the fear of God, and always 
remember the ten commandments of God, — to love the 
one and only Lord God with all thy strength ; to give 
no heed to idols, or any other beings, as being lifeless 
gods, or irrational beings or daemons. "- 

But though these Constitutions thus recognize 
the authority of the decalogue and the sacred ob- 
ligation of the seventh day, they elevate the 
Sunday festival in some respects to higher honor 
than the Sabbath, though they claim for it no 
precept of the Scriptures. Thus the}^ say : — 

"But keep the Sabbath, and the Lord's day festival ; 
because the former is the memorial of the creation, and 
the latter of the resurrection." ^ 

' ' For the Sabbath is the ceasing of the creation, the 
completion of the world, the inquiry after laws, and the 
grateful praise to God for the blessings he has be- 
stowed upon men. All which the Lord's day excels, and 
shows the Mediator himself, the Provider, the Law-giver, 
the Cause of the resurrection, the First-born of the whole 
creation." * 

" So that the Lord's day commands us to offer unto 
thee, O Lord, thanksgiving for all. For this is the grace 

1 Apostolical Coustitutions, book ii. sect. 4, par. SG. 
2 Id. lb. aid. book vii. sect. 2, par. 23. 

*Id. book vii. sect. 2, par. 86. 


afforded by thee, which, on account of its greatness, has 
obscured all other blessings." ^ 

Tested by his own principles, the writer of 
these Constitutions was far advanced in apostasy; 
for he held a festival, for which he claimed no di- 
vine authority, more honorable than one which 
he acknowledged to be ordained of God. There 
could be but one step more in this course, and 
that would be to set aside the commandment of 
God for the ordinance of man, and this step was 
not very long afterward actually taken. One 
other point should be noticed. It is said : — 

^'Let the slaves work five days ; but on the Sabbath 
day and the Lord's day let them have leisure to go to 
church for instruction in piety,"" 

The question of the sinfulness of labor on 
either of these days is not here taken into the 
account ; for the reason assigned is tliat the slaves 
may have leisure to attend public worship. But 
while these Constitutions elsewhere forbid labor 
on the Sabbath on the authority of the decalogue, 
they do not forbid it upon the first day of the 
week. Take the following as an example : — 

" O Lord Almighty, thou hast created the world by 
Clirist, and hast appointed the Sabbath in memory there- 
of, because that on tlmt day thou hast made us rest from 
our ivorJis, for the meditation upon thy laws."^ 

The Apostolical Constitutions are valuable to 
us, not as authority respecting the teaching of 
the apostles, but as giving us a knowledge of the 
views and practices which prevailed in the third 
century. As these Constitutions were exten- 

1 Apostolical Constitutions, book ii, sec. 4, par. 36. 
- Id. book viii. sect. 4, i)ar. 3o. 
'■' 1(1. ))ook vii. sect. 2, par. OC. 


sively regarded as embodying the doctrine of 
the apostles, they furnish conclusive evidence 
that, at the time when they were put in writ- 
ing, the ten commandments were very gener- 
ally revered as the immutable rule of right, and 
that the Sabbath of the Lord was by many ob- 
served as an act of obedience to the fourth com- 
mandm^ent, and as the divine memorial of the 
creation. They also show that the first-day fes- 
tival had, in the third century, attained such 
strength and influence as to clearly indicate that 
ere long it would claim the entire ground. But 
observe that the Sabbath and the so-called 
Lord's day were then regarded as distinct insti- 
tutions, and that no hint of the change of the 
Sabbath from the seventh day to the first is even 
once given. 

Thus much out of the fathers concerning the 
authority of the decalogue, and concerning the 
perpetuity and observance of the ancient Sab- 
bath. The suppression of the Sabbath of the 
Bible, and the elevation of Sunday to its place, 
has been shown to be in no sense the work of 
the Saviour. But so great a work required the 
united action of powerful causes, and these causes 
we now enumerate. 

1. Hatred toward the Jetus. This people, who 
retained the ancient Sabbath, had slain Christ. 
It was easy for men to forget that Christ, as Lord 
of the Sabbath, had claimed it as his own insti- 
tution, and to call the Sabbath a Jewish institu- 
tion which Christians should not regard.^ 

1 A''ictorinus says, "Let the sixth day become a rigorous fast, 
lest we should appear to observe any Sabbath with the Jews." — 
On. the Creation of the world, sect. 4. And Constantine says, 

Sabbath Historv. ija 


2. The hatred of the church of Rome toward 
the Sabbath, and its determination to elevate 
Sunday to the highest place. This church, as the 
chief in the work of apostasy, took the lead in 
the earliest effort to suppress the Sabbath by 
turning it into a fast. And the very first act of 
papal aggression was by an edict in behalf of 
Sunday. Thenceforward, in every possible form, 
this church continued this work until the pope 
announced that he had received a divine man- 
date for Sunday observance [the very thing lack- 
ing] in a roll which fell from Heaven. 

3. The voluntary ohserva^iice of memorable 
days. In the Christian church, almost from the 
beginning, men voluntarily honored the fourth, 
the sixth, and the first days of the week, and 
also the anniversary of the Passover and the 
Pentecost, to commemorate the betrayal, the 
death, and the resurrection, of Christ, and the 
descent of the Holy Spirit, which acts in them- 
selves could not be counted sinful, 

4. The makiyig of tradition of equcd authority 
with the Scriptures. This was the great error of 
the early church, and the one to w^hich that 
church was specially exposed, as having in it 
those who had seen the apostles, or who had seen 
those who had seen them. It was this which 
rendered the voluntary observance of memorable 
days a dangerous thing. For what began as a 
voluntary observance became, after the lapse of 
a few years, a standing custom, established by 
tradition, which must be obeyed because it came 
from those who had seen the apostles, or from 

" It becomes us to have nothino; in common with the perfidious 
Jews." — iSorrafes^ £crL Jlist. book v. cliap. xxii. 


those who had seen others who had seen them. 
This is the origin of the various eiTors of the 
great apostasy. 

5. The entrance of the no-laiu heresy. This is 
seen in Justin Martyr, the earliest witness to the 
Sunday festival, and in the church of Rome of 
which he was then a member. 

6. The extensive observance of Sunday as a 
heathen festival. The first day of the week cor- 
responded to the widely observed heathen festi- 
val of the sun. It was therefore easy to unite 
the honor of Christ in the observance of the day 
of his resurrection with the convenience and 
worldly advantage of his people in having the 
same festival day with their heathen neighbors, 
and to make it a special act of piety in that the 
conversion of the heathen was thereby facilitated, 
while the neglect of the ancient Sabbath was 
justified by stigmatizing that divine memorial 
as a Jewish institution with which Christians 
should have no concern. 




Origin of the Sabbath and of the festival of the sun contrast- 
ed — Entrance of that festival into the church — The Mod- 
erns with the Ancients — The Sabbath observed by the 
early Christians — Testimony of Morer — Of Twisse — Of 
Giesler — Of Mosheim — Of Coleman — Of Bishop Taylor — 
The Sabbath loses ground before the Sunday festival — 
Several bodies of decided Sabbatarians — Testimony of 
Brerewood — Constant ine's Sunday law — Sunday a day of 
labor with the primitive church — Constantine's edict a 
heathen law, and himself at that time a heathen — The 
bishop of Rome authoritatively confers the name of Lord's 
day upon Sunday — Heylyn narrates the steps by which 
Sunday arose to power — A marked change in the history 
of that institution — Paganism brought into the church — 
The Sabbath weakened by Constantine's influence — Re- 
markable facts concerning Eusebius — The Sabbath recov- 
ers strength again — The council of Laodicea pronounces 
a curse upon the Sabbath-keepers — The progress of apos- 
tasy marked — Authority of church councils considered 
— Chrysostom — Jerome — Augustine — Sunday edicts — Test- 
imony of Socrates relative to the Sabbath about the middle 
of the fifth century — Of Sozomen — Effectual suppression 
of the Sabbath at the close of the fifth century. 

The origin of the Sabbath and of the festival 
of Sunday is now distinctly understood. When 
God made the world, he gave to man the Sabbath 
that he miglit not forget the Creator of all things. 
When men apostatized from God, Satan turned 
them to the worship of the sun, and, as a stand- 
ing memorial of their veneration for that himin- 
ary, caused them to dedicate to his honor the first 
day of the week. When tlie elements of apostasy 
had sufficiently matured in the Christian church, 
this ancient festival stood forth as a rival to the 


Sabbath of the Lord. The manner in which it 
obtained a foothold in the Christian church has 
been ah^eady shown ; and many facts which have 
an important bearing upon the struggle between 
these rival institutions have also been given. We 
have, in the preceding chapters, given the state- 
ments of the most ancient Christian writers re- 
specting the Sabbath and first-day in the early 
church. As we now trace the history of these 
two days during the first five centuries of the 
Christian era, we shall give the statements of 
modern church historians, covering the same 
ground with the early fathers, and shall also 
quote in continuation of the ancient writers the 
testimonies of the earliest church historians. 
The reader can thus discover how nearly the an- 
cients and moderns agree. Of the observance of 
the Sabbath in the early church, Morer speaks 
thus : — 

' ' The primitive Christians had a great veneration for 
the Sabbath, and spent the day in devotion and sermons. 
And it is not to be doubted but they derived this practice 
from the apostles themselves, as appears by several script- 
ures to that purpose ; who, keeping both that day and 
the first of the week, gave occasion to the succeeding 
ages to join them together, and make it one festival, 
though there was not the same reason for the continuance 
of the custom as there was to begin it."^ 

A learned English first-day writer of the seven- 
teenth century, William Twisse, D. D., thus states 
the early history of these two days : — 

' ' Yet for some hundred years in the x^rimitive church, 
not the Lord's day only, but the seventh day also, was 
religiously observed, not by Ebion and Cerinthus only, 
but by pious Christians also, as Baronius -vvriteth, and 
Gomarus confesseth, and Rivet also, that we are bound 

1 Dialogues on the Lord's Day, p. 180. 


in conscience under the gospel, to allow for God's service 
a better proportion of time, than the Jews did under the 
law, rather than a worse." ^ 

That the observance of the Sabbath was nob 
confined to Jewish converts, the learned Giesler 
explicitly testifies : — 

''While the Je-\\dsh Christians of Palestine retained 
the entire Mosaic law, and consequently the Jewish festi- 
vals, the Gentile Christians observed also the Sabbath and 
the passover," with reference to the last scenes of Jesus' 
life, but without Jewish superstition. In addition to 
these, Sunday, as the day of Christ's resurrection, was 
devoted to religious services."^ 

The statement of Mosheim may be thought to 
contradict that of Giesler. Thus he says : — 

' ' The seventh day of the week was also observed as a 
festival, not by the Christians in general, but by such 
churches only as were principally composed of Jewish 
converts, nor did the other Christians censure this cus- 
tom as criminal and unlawful."* 

It will be observed that Mosheim does not de- 
ny that the Jewish converts observed the Sab- 
bath. He denies that this was done by the Gen- 
tile Christians. The proof on which he rests this 
denial is thus stated by him : — 

"The churches of Bithynia, of which Pliny speaks, in 
his letter to Trajan, had only one stated day for the cel- 
ebration of public worship ; and that was undoubtedly 
the first day of the week, or what we call the Lord's 

1 Morality of the Fourth Commandment, p. 9, London, 1641. 

2 1 Cor. 5 :6-8. 3Eccl. Hist. vol. i. chap. ii. sect. 30. 

* Eccl. Hist, book i. cent. 1, part ii. chap. iv. sect. 4. Dr. Mur- 
dock's translation is more accurate than that above by Maclaine. 
lie gives it thus : "Moreover, those congregations, which either 
lived intermingled with Jews, or were composed in great meas- 
ure of Jews, were accustomed also to observe the seventh dajj of 
the week, as a SAcuEn day : for doing which, the other Christians 
taxed them with no wrong." *Id. margin. 


The proposition to be proved is this : The Gen- 
tile Christians did not observe the Sabbath. The 
proof is found in the following fact : The church- 
es of Bithynia assembled on a stated day for the 
celebration of divine worship. It is seen there- 
fore that the conclusion is gratuitous, and wholly 
unauthorized by the testimony.^ But this in- 
stance shows the dexterity of Mosheim in draw- 
ing inferences, and gives us some insight into the 
kind of evidence which supports some of these 
sweeping statements in behalf of Sunday. Who 
can say that this " stated day " was not the very 
day enjoined in the fourth commandment ? Of the 
Sabbath and first day in the early ages of the 
church, Coleman speaks as follows : — 

" The last day of tlie week was strictly ke]3t in connec- 
tion with that of the first day, for a long time after the 
overthrow of the temple and its worship. Down even to 
the fifth century the observance of the Jewish Sabbath 
was continued in the Christian church, but with a rigor 
and solemnity gradually diminishing until it was wholly 

This is a most explicit acknowledgment that 
the Bible Sabbath was long observed by the 
body of the Christian church. Coleman is a first- 
day writer, and therefore not likely to state the 
case too strongly in behalf of the seventh day. 
He is a modern writer, but we have already 
proved his statements true out of the ancients. 
It is true that Coleman speaks also of the first 
day of the week, yet his subsequent language 
shows that it was a long while before this be- 
came a sacred day. Thus he says : — 

" During the early ages of the church it was never en- 

1 See chap, xiv. of this History. ^ 

2 Ancient Christianity Exempl'iticd, chap. xxvi. sect. 2. 

336 HISTORY OF the sabbath. 

titled 'the Sabbath,' this word being confined to the 
seventh day of the week, the Jewish Sabbath, which, as 
we have ah'eady said, continued to be observed for sev- 
eral centuries by the converts to Christianity. " ^ 

This fact is made still clearer by the following 
language, in which this historian admits Sunday 
to be nothing but a human ordinance : — 

''No law or precept appears to have been given by 
Christ or the apostles, either for the abrogation of the 
Jewish Sabbath, or the institution of the Lord's day, 
or the substitution of the first for the seventh day of the 
week." ^ 

Coleman does not seem to realize that in mak- 
ing this truthful statement he has directly ac- 
knowledged that the ancient Sabbath is still in 
full force as a divine institution, and that first- 
day observance is only authorized by the tradi- 
tions of men. He next relates the manner in 
which this Sunday festival which iiad been nour- 
ished in the bosom of the church usurped the 
place of the Lord's Sabbath ; a warning to all 
Christians of the tendency of human institutions, 
if cherished by the people of God, to destroy 
those which are divine. Let this important lan- 
guage be carefully pondered. He speaks thus : — 

"The observance of the Lord's day was ordered while 
yet the Sabbath of the Jews was continued ; nor was the 
latter superseded until the former had acquired the same 
solemnity and importance, which belonged, at first, to 
that great day which God originally ordained and blessed. 

But in time, after the Lord's day was fully 

established, the observance of the Sabbath of the Jews 
was gradually discontinued, and was finally denounced 
as heretical." ^ 

Thus is seen the result of cherishing this harm- 

~ — 

'Anc. Christ. Exem, chap. xxvi. sect. 2. ^\d. lb. Md. lb. 


less Sunday festival in the church. It only asked 
toleration at first ; but gaining strength by de- 
grees, it gradually undermined the Sabbath of 
the Lord, and finally denounced its observance 
as heretical. 

Jeremy Taylor, a distinguished bishop of the 
Church of England, and a man of great erudition, 
but a decided opponent of Sabbatic obligation, 
confirms the testimony of Coleman. He affirms 
that the Sabbath was observed by the Christians 
of the first three hundred years, but denies that 
they did this out of respect to the authority oi 
the law of God. But we have shov/n from the 
fathers that those who hallowed tlie Sabbath did 
it as an act of obedience to the fourth command- 
ment, and that the decalogue was acknowledged 
as of perpetual obligation, and as the perfect 
rule of right. As Bishop T. denies that this was 
their ground of observance, he should have shown 
some other, which he has not done. Thus he 
says : — 

" The Lord's day did not succeed in the place of the 
Sabbath, but the Sabbath was wholly abrogated, and the 
Lord's day was merely an ecclesiastical institution. It 
was not introduced by virtue of the fourth commandment, 
because they for almost three hundred years together 
kept that day which was in that commandment ; but they 
did it also without any opinion of prime obligation, and 
therefore they did not suppose it moral. "^ 

That such an opinion relative to the obligation 
of the fourth commandment had gained ground 
extensively among the leaders of the church, as 
early at least as the fourth century, an^ probably 
in the third, is sufficiently attested by the ac- 
tion of the council of Laodicea, A. D. 364, which 

^ Diictor Diihitardium, part i. book ii. chap. ii. rule 6, sect. 51. 


anathematized those "who should observe the Sab- 
bath, as will be noticed in its place. That this 
loose view of the moralit}^ of the fourth com- 
mandment was resisted by many, is shown by 
the existence of various bodies of steadfast Sab- 
batarians in that age, whose memory has come 
down to us ; and also by the fact that that coun- 
cil made such a vigorous effort to put down the 
Sabbath. Coleman has clearly portrayed the grad- 
ual depression of the Sabbath, as the first-day 
festival arose in strength, until Sabbath-keeping 
became heretical, when, by ecclesiastical author- 
ity, the Sabbath was suppressed, and the festival 
of Sunday became fully established as a new and 
different institution. The natural consequence of 
this is seen in the rise of distinct sects, or bodies, 
who were distinguished for their observance 
of the seventh day. That they should be de- 
nounced as heretical and falsely charged with 
many errors is not surprising, when we consider 
that their memory has been handed down to us by 
their opponents, and that Sabbath-keepers in our 
own time are not unfrequently treated in this 
very manner. The first of these ancient Sabba- 
tarian bodies was the Nazarenes. Of these, Morer 
testifies that. 

They " retained the Sabbatli ; and though they x^re- 
tended to believe as Christians, yet they practiced as 
Jews, and so were in reality neither one nor the other. "^ 

And Dr. Francis AVhite, lord bishop of Ely, 
mentions the Nazarenes as one of the ancient 
bodies of Sabbath-keepers who were condemned 
by the church leaders for that hei'esy ; and he 

Dialogues on the Lord's Day, p. 6(5. 


classes them with heretics as Morer has done.^ 
Yet the Nazarenes have a peculiar claim to our 
regard, as being in reality the apostolic church of 
Jerusalem, and its direct successors. Thus Gib- 
bon testifies : — 

' ' The Jewish converts, or, as they were afterwards 
called, the Nazarenes, who had laid the foundations of 
the church, soon found themselves overwhelmed by the 
increasing multitudes, that from all the various religions 
of polytheism enlisted under the banner of Christ. . . . 
The ISTazarenes retired from the ruins of Jerusalem to the 
little town of Pella beyond the Jordan, where that an- 
cient church languished above sixty years in solitude and 
obscurity. " - 

It is not strange that that church which fled 
out of Judea at the word of Christ^ should long 
retain the Sabbath, as it appears that they did, 
even as late as the fourth century. Morer men- 
tions another class of Sabbath-keepers in the fol^ 
lowinor lano^uaofe : — 

' ' About the same time were the Hypsistarii who closed 
with these as to what concerned the Sabbath, yet would 
by no means accept circumcision as too plain a testimony 
of ancient bondage. All these were heretics, and so ad- 
judged to be by the Catholic church. Yet their hypoc- 
risy and industry were such as gained them a consider- 
able footing in the Christian world." * 

The bishop of Ely names these also as a body 
of Sabbath-keepers whose heresy was condemned 

1 A Treatise of the Sabbath Day, containing a " Defense of the 
Orthodoxal Doctrioe of the Church of England against Sabbata- 
rian Xovehy," p. S. It was written in 1635 at the command of 
the king in reply to Brabourne, a minister of the established 
church, whose work, entitled "A Defense of that most Ancient 
and Sacred Ordinance of God's, the Sabbath Day," was dedicated 
to the king with a request that he would restore the Bible Sab- 
bath ! See the preface to Dr. White's Treatise. 

2 Dec. and Fall, chap. xv. 3 See chap. x. 
^ Dialogues on the Lord's Day, p. 67. 


by the church.^ The learned Joseph Bingham, 
M. A., cfives the foUowinor account of them : — 

' ' There was another sect which called themselves Hyp- 
sistarians, that is, worshipers of the most high God, whom 
they worshiped as the Jews only in one person. And 
they observed their Sabbaths and used distinction of 
meats, clean and unclean, though they did not regard 
circumcision, as Gregory Nazianzen, whose father was once 
one of this sect, gives the account of them."- 

It must ever be remembered that these people, 
whom the Catholic church adjudged to be here- 
tics, are not speaking for themselves : their ene- 
mies who condemned them have transmitted to 
posterity all that is known of their history. It 
would be well if heretics, who meet with little 
mercy at the hand of ecclesiastical writers, could 
at least secure the impartial justice of a truthful 

Another class are thus described by Cox in his 
elaborate work entitled " Sabbath Laws and Sab- 
bath Duties ": — 

"In this way [that is, by presenting the testimony of 
the Bible on the subject] arose the ancient Sabbatarians, 
a body it is well knoA\^l of very considerable importance 
in respect both to numbers and influence, during the 
greater j^art of the third and the early part of the next 

The close of the third century witnessed the 
Sabbath much weakened in its hold upon the 
church in general, and the festival of Sunday, al- 
though possessed of no divine authority, steadily 
gaining in strength and in sacredness. The fol- 
lowing historical testimony from a member of the 

1 Treatise of the Sabbath Day, p. 8. 

2 Antiquities ofthe Christian Church, book xvi. chap. vi. sect. 2. 
a Paore 280. Cox here quotes the work, entitled " The Modern 

Sabbath Examined." 


English Church, Edward Brerewood, professor in 
Gresham College, London, gives a good general 
view of the matter, though the author's anti- 
Sabbatarian views are mixed with it. He says : — 

^' The ancient Sabbath did remain and was observed to- 
gether with the celebration of the Lord's day by the Chris- 
tians of the east church above three hundred years after 
our Saviour's death ; and besides that, no other day for 
more hundreds of years than I spake of before, Avas known 
in the church by the name of Sabbath but that : let the 
collection thereof and conclusion of all be this : The Sajb- 
bath of the seventh day as touching the alligations of 
God's solemn worship to time was ceremonial ; that Sab- 
bath was religiously observed in the east church three 
hundred years and more after our Saviour's passion. 
That church being the great part of Christendom, and 
having the apostles' doctrine and example to instruct 
them, Avould have restrained it if it had been deadly. " ^ 

Such was the case in the eastern churches at 
the end of the third century ; but in such of the 
western churches as sympathized with the church 
of Rome, the Sabbath had been treated as a fast 
from the beginning of that century, to express 
their opposition toward those who observed it ac- 
cording to the commandment. 

In the early part of the fourth century occurred 
an event which could not have been foreseen, but 
which threw an immense weight in favor of Sun- 
day into the balances already trembling between 
the rival institutions, the Sabbath of the Lord 
and the festival of the sun. This was notliing 
less than an edict from the throne of the Roman 
Empire in behalf of "the venerable day of tlie 
sun." It was issued by the emperor Constantino 
in A. D. 321, and is thus expressed : — 

Learned Treatise oftlio Sabbath, p. 77, Oxford, 1031. 


' ' Let all the judges and town people, and the occupa- 
tion of all trades rest on the venerable day of the sun ; 
but let those who are situated in the country, freely and 
at full liberty attend to the business of agriculture ; be- 
cause it often happens that no other day is so fit for sow- 
ing corn and planting vines ; lest, the critical moment 
being let slip, men should lose the commodities granted 
by Heaven. Given the seventh day of March ; Crispus 
and Constantine being consuls, each of them for the sec- 
ond time."^ 

Of tills law, a high authority thus speaks : — 

''It was Constantine the Great who first made a law for 
the proper observance of Sunday ; and who, according to 
Eusebius, appointed it should be regularly celebrated 
throughout the Roman Empire. Before him, and even 
in his time, they observed the Jewish Sabbath, as well as 
Sunday ; both to satisfy the law of Moses, and to imitate 
the apostles who used to meet together on the first day. 
By Constantine's law, promulgated in 321, it was decreed 
that for the future the Sunday should be kept as a day of 
rest in all cities and towns ; but he allowed the country 
people to follow their work."' 

Another eminent authority thus states the pur- 
port of this law : — 

" Constantine the Great made a law for the whole em- 
pire (a. D. 321) that Sunday should be kept as a day of 
rest in all cities and towns ; but he allowed the country 
people to follow their work on that day."'^ 

iThis edict is the original fountain of first-day authority, and in 
many respects answers to the festival of Sunday, what the fourth 
coraraandment is to the Sabbath of the Lord. The original of 
this edict may be seen in the library of Harvard College, and is 
as follows: — 


Omnes Judices, urbanseque plebes, et cunctarum artium officia 
venerabili die solis quiescant. Ruri tamen positi agrorum cul- 
turse libere licenterque inserviant : quoniam frequenter evenit, 
ut non aptius alio die frumenta sulcis, aut vinea? scrobibus man- 
dentur, ne occasione momenti pereat commoditas coelesti provis- 
ione concessa. Dat. Nonis Mart. Crispo. 2 & Constantino 2. Coss. 
321. Corpus Juris Civilis Codicis lib. iii tit. 12. 3. 

'•' Encyc. Brit. art. Sunda}', seventh edition, 1842. 

* Encyc. Am. art. Sabbath. 


Thus the fact is ]Jaced beyond all dispute that 
this decree gave full permission to all kinds of 
agricultural labor. The following testimony of 
Mosheim is therefore worthy of strict attention: — 

' ' The first day of the week, -which was the ordinary 
and stated time for the public assemblies of the Chris- 
tians, was in consequence of a f>eculiar law enacted by 
Constantine, observed with greater solemnity than it had 
formerly been."^ 

What will the advocates of hrst-day sacredness 
say to this ? They quote Mosheim respecting 
Sunday observance in the first century — which 
testimony has been carefully examined in this 
work^ — and they seem to think that his language 
in support of first-day sacredness is nearly equal 
in authority to the language of the New Testa- 
ment; in fact, they regard it as supplying an 
important omission in that book. Yet Mosheim 
states respecting Constantine's Sunday law, pro- 
mulgated in the fourth century, which restrained 
merchants and mechanics, but allowed all kinds 
of agiicultural labor on that day, that it caused 
the day to be " observed with greater solemnity 
than it had formerly been." It follows, therefore, 
on Mosheim's own showing, that Sunday, during 
the first three centuries, was not a day of absti- 
nence from labor in the Christian church. On 
this point. Bishop Taylor thus testifies : — 

" The primitive Christians did all manner of works upon 
the Lord's day, even in the times of persecution, when 
they are the strictest observers of all the divine com- 
mandments ; but in this they knew there was none ; and 
therefore when Constantine the emperor had made an 
edict against working upon the Lord's day, yet he ex- 
ceiDts and still permitted all agriculture or labors of the 
husbandman whatsoever."^ 

1 Eccl. Hist. cent. iv. part ii. chap. iv. sect. 5. 2 Chap. xiv. 
•'' Duct. Dubitant. part i. book ii. chap. ii. rule 6, sect. 59. 


Morer tells us respecting the first three centu- 
ries, that is to say, the period before Constantine, 

' ' The Lord's day had no command that it should be 
sanctified, but it was left to God's people to pitch on this 
or that day for the public worship. And being taken up 
and made a day of meeting for religious exercises, yet for 
three hundred years there was no law to bind them to it, 
and for want of such a law, the day was not wholly kept 
in abstaining from common business ; nor did they any 
longer rest from their ordinary affairs (such was the 
necessity of those times) than during the divine service."^ 

And Sir Wm. Domville says : — 

" Centuries of the Christian era passed away before the 
Sunday was observed by the Christian church as a Sab- 
bath. History does not furnish us with a single proof or 
indication that it was at any time so observed previous to 
the Sabbatical edict of Constantine in a. d. 321."^ 

What these able modern writers set forth as to 
labor on Sunday before the edict of Constantine 
was promulgated, we have fully proved in the 
preceding chapters out of the most ancient eccle- 
siastical writers. That sucli an edict could not 
fail to strengthen the current already strongly 
set in favor of Sunday, and greatly to weaken 
the influence of the Sabbath, cannot be doubted. 
Of this fact, an able writer bears witness : — 

" Very shortly after the period when Constantino is- 
sued his edict enjoining the general observance of Sun- 
day throughout the Roman Empire, the party that had 
contended for the observance of the seventh day dwin- 
dled into insignificance. The observance of Sunday as a 
j)ublic festival, during which all business, with the excep- 
tion of rural employments, was intermitted, came to be 
more and more generally established ever after this time, 
tlu-oughout both the Greek and the Latin churches. 

1 Dialogues on the Lord's Tis\\, p. 23?.. 
sExaminuiiou ol'the Six Texts, p. 'J91. 


There is no evidence however that either at this, or at a 
period much later, the observance was viewed as deriving 
any obligation from the fourth commandment ; it seems 
to have been regarded as an institution corresponding in 
nature with Christmas, Good Friday, and other festivals 
of the church ; and as resting with them on the ground 
6i ecclesiastical authority and tradition."^ 

Tliis extiaordinaiy edict of Constantinc caused 
Sunday to be observed with greater solemnity 
than it had formerly been. Yet we have the 
most indubitable proof that this law was a hea- 
then enactment ; that it was put forth in favor 
of Sunday as a heathen institution and not as a 
Christian festival ; and that Constantine himself 
not only did not possess the character of a Chris- 
tian, but was at that time in truth a heathen. 
It is to be observed that Constantine did not des- 
ignate the day which he commanded men to 
keep, as Lord's day. Christian Sabbath, or the 
day of Chi-ist's resurrection; nor does he assign 
any reason for its observance which would indi- 
cate it as a Christian festival. On the contrary, 
he designates the ancient heathen festiva,! of the 
sun in lancruaore that cannot be mistaken. Dr. 
Hessey thus sustams this statement : — 

'^Others have looked at the transaction in a totally 
different light, and refused to discover in the document, 
or to suppose in the mind of the enactor, any recognition 
of the Lord's day as a matter of divine obligation. They 
remark, and very truly, that Constantine designates it by 
its astrological or heathen title, Dies Solis, and insist that 
the epithet venerahilis with v/hich it is introduced has ref- 
erence to the rites performed on that day in honor of 
Hercides, Apollo, and Mithras." " 

1 Cox's Sabbath Laws, &c. pp. 2S0, 281. He quotes The Mod- 
ern Sabbath Examined. 

^Hessey's Barapton Lecture?, p. G'!>. 
gabbath Hlst^rv. 133 


On this important point, Milman, the learned 
editor of Gibbon, thus testifies : — 

" The rescript commanding the celebration of the 
Christian Sabbath, bears no allusion to its peculiar sanc- 
tity as a Christian institution. It is the day of the sun 
which is to be observed by the general veneration ; the 
courts were to be closed, and the noise and tumult of 
public business and legal litigation were no longer to vi- 
olate the repose of the sacred day. But the believer in 
the new iDaganism, of which the solar worship was the 
characteristic, might acquiesce without scruple in the 
sanctity of the first day of the week." ^ 

And he adds in a subsequent chapter : — 

'' In fact, as we have before observed, the day of the 
sun would be willingly hallowed by almost all the pagan 
world, especially that part which had admitted any ten- 
dency towards the Oriental theology."^ 

On the seventh day of March, Constantine 
published his edict commanding the observance 
of that ancient festival of the heathen, the ven- 
erable day of the sun. On the following day, 
March eighth,^ he issued a second decree in every 
respect worthy of its heathen predecessor.^ The 
purport of it was this : That if any royal edifice 

1 History of Christianity, book iii. chap. i. 

2 Id. book iii. chap. iv. 

'These dates are worthy of marked attention. See Blair's 
Chronological Tables, p. 193, ed. 1S5G ; Rosse's Index of Dates, 
p. 830. 

'^ Imp. Constantinvs A. Ad Jtfaximvm. Si quid de Palatio Nos- 
tro, aut ceteris operibus publicis, degustatum fulgore esse con- 
Rtitorit, retento more veteris observantiae. Quid portendat, ob 
Haruspicibus requiratur, et diligentissime scriptura coUecta ad 
Nostram Scientiam referatur. Ceteris etiam usurpandae huius 
consuetudinis licentia tribuenda : dummodo sacrihciis domesticis 
abstineant, quae specialitcr prohibita sunt. Earn autem denun 
ciationcm adque interpretationem, quae de tactu Amphitheatri 
scriba est, de qua ad Ileraclianum Tribunum, et Magistrum Offic 
iorum scripseras, ad nos scias esse perlatum. Dat. xvi. Kal 
Jan. Serdicae Ace. viii. Id. Mart. Crispo ii, & Constantino ii. C, 
C. Coss. 321. Cod. Theodos. xvi. 10, 1.— Library of Ilarrard 


should be struck by lightning, the ancient cere- 
monies of propitiating the deity should be prac- 
ticed, and the haruspices were to be consulted to 
learn the meaning of the awful portent.^ The 
haruspices were soothsayers who foretold future 
events by examining the entrails of beasts 
slaucrhtered in sacrifice to the gods!^ The stat- 
ute of the seventh of March enjoining the ob- 
servance of the venerable day of the sun, and 
that of the eighth of the same month command- 
ing the consultation of the haruspices, constitute 
a noble pair of well-matched heathen edicts. 
That Constantine himself was a heathen at the 
time these edicts were issued, is shown not only 
by the nature of the edicts themselves, but by 
the fact that his nominal conversion to Chris- 
tianity is placed by Mosheim two years after his 
Sunday lav/. Thus he saj^s : — 

"After well considering the subject, I have come to 
the conclusion, that subsequently to the death of Licinius 
in the year 323 when Constantine found himself sole em- 
peror, he became an absolute Cliristian, or one who believes 
no religion but the Christian to be acceptable to God. 
He had previously considered the religion of one God as 
more excellent than the other religions, and believed that 
Christ ought especially to be worshiped : yet he supposed 
there were also inferior deities, and that to these some 
worship might be paid, in the manner of the fathers, with- 
out fault or sin. And who does not know, that in those 
times, many others also combined the worship of Christ 
with that of the ancient gods, whom they regarded as the 
ministers of the supreme God in the government of hu- 
man and earthly affairs. " ^ 

As a heathen, Constantine was the worshiper 

1 See Jortin's Eccl. Hist, vol. 1. sect. 31 ; Milman's Hist. 
Christianity, book iii. chap. i. 

"See Webster ; for an ancient record of the act, see Eze. xxi. 
18-22. 3 Historical Commentaries, cent. iv. sect. 7. 


of Apollo or the sun, a fact that sheds much light 
upon his edict enjoining men to observe the ven- 
erable day of the sun. Thus Gibbon testifies : — 

'^The devotion of Constantine was more peculiarly di- 
rected to the genius of the sun, the Apollo of Greek and 
Roman mythology ; and he was pleased to be represented 
with the symbols of the god of light and poetry. . . , 
The altars of Apollo were crowned with the votive offer- 
ings of Constantine ; and the credulous multitude were 
taught to believe that the emperor was permitted to be- 
hold with mortal eyes the visible majesty of their tutelar 
deity. . . . The sun was univ^ersally celebrated as the 
invincible guide and protector of Constantine."^ 

His character as a professor of Christianity is 
thus described : — 

''The sincerity of the man, vrho in a short period ef- 
fected such amazing changes in the religious world, is best 
known to Him who searches the heart. Certain it is that 
his subsequent life furnished no evidence of conversion to 
God. He waded without remorse through seas of blood, 
and was a most tyrannical prince. "' 

A few words relative to his character as a man 
will complete our view of his fitness to legislate 
for the church. This man, when elevated to the 
highest place of earthly power, caused his eldest 
son, Crispus, to be privately murdered, lest the 
fame of the son should eclipse that of the father. 
In the same ruin was involved his nephew Li- 
cinius, " whose rank was his only crime," and this 
was followed by the execution "perhaps of a 
guilty wife."^ 

Such was the man who elevated Sunday to the 
throne of the Roman Empire ; and such the 
nature of the institution which he thus elevated. 

> Dec. and Fall of the Roman Empire, chap. xx. 

2. Marsh's Eccl. Hist, period iii. chap. v. 

« Dec. and FaII of the R->man Empire, chap, xviii. 


A recent English writer says of Constantine's 
Sunday law that it " would seem to have been 
rather to promote heathen than Christian wor- 
ship." And he shows how this heathen emperor 
became a Christian, and hov/ this heathen statute 
became a Christian law. Thus he says : — 

" At a LATER PERIOD, Carried a-u^ay by the current of 
opinion, he declared himseK a convert to the church. 
Christianity, then, or what he was pleased to call by that 
name, became the law of the land, and the edict of a. d. 
321, being unrevoked, was enforced as a Christian ordi- 

Thus it is seen that a law, enacted in support 
of a heathen institution, after a few years came 
to be considered a Christian ordinance ; and Con- 
stantino himself, four years after his Sunday 
edict, was able to control the church, as repre- 
sented in the general council of Nice, so as to 
cause the members of that council to establish 
their annual festival of the passover upon Sun- 
day.^ Paganism had prepared the institution 
from ancient days, and had now elevated it to 
supreme power ; its work was accomplished. 

We have proved that the Sunday festival in 
the Christian church had no Sabbatical character 
before the time of Constantine. We have also 
shown that heathenism, in the pei'son of Con- 
stantine, first gave to Sunday its Sabbatical 
character, and, in the very act of doing it, desig- 
nated it as a heathen, and not as a Christian, fes- 
tival, thus establishing a heathen Sabbath. It was 
now the part of popery authoritatively to effect 
its transformation into a Christian institution ; a 
work whi^h it was not slow to perform. Sylves- 

1 Sunday and the Mosaic Sabbath, p. 4, published bv R. Groom- 
bridge & Sons, London. 2 gge chap, xviii. 


ter was the bishop of Rome while Constantine 
was emperor. How faithfully he acted his part 
in transforming the festival of the sun into a 
Christian institution is seen in that, by his apos- 
tolic authority, he changed the name of the day, 
giving it the imposing title of Lord's day.^ To 
Constantine and to Sylvester, therefore, the ad- 
vocates of first-day observance are greatly in- 
debted. The one elevated it as a heathen festi- 
val to the throne of the empire, making it a day 
of rest from most kinds of business ; the other 
changed it into a Christian institution, giving it 
the dignified appellation of Lord's day. It is not 
a sufficient reason for denying that Pope Sylves- 
ter, not far from A. D. 325, authoritatively con- 
ferred on Sunday the name of Lord's day, to say 
that one of the fathers, as early as A. D. 200, calls 
the day by that name, and that some seven dif- 
ferent writers, between A. D. 200 and A. D. 325, 
viz., Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian, Anatolius, Com- 
modianus, Victorinus, and Peter of Alexandria, 
can be adduced, who give this name to Sunday. 
No one of these fathers ever claims for this title 
any apostolic authority ; and it has been already 
shown that they could not have believed the 
day to be the Lord's day by divine appointment. 
So far, therefore, is the use of this term by these 
persons as a name for Sunday from conflicting 
with the statement that Sylvester, by his apos- 

1 Omnium vero dierum per septimanam appellationes (ut Solis, 
Lunae, Martis, etc.), mutasse in ferias : ut Polydorus (li. 6, c. 5) 
indicat. Mataphrastes vero, nomina dierum Hebraeis usitata 
retinuisse eum, tradit ; solius phimi diei appellatioxe mutata, 
QUEM DoMiN'icuM DIXIT. Historia Ecclesiastica per M. Ludovicum 
Lucium, cent. iv. cap. x. pp. 739, 740, Ed. Basilea, 1024. Library 
of Andover Theological Stminary. The Ecclesiastical History of 
Lucius is simply the second edition of the famous "Magdeburg 
Centuries," which was published under his supervision. 


tolic authority, established this name as the 
rightful title of that day, that it shows the act 
of Sylvester to be exactly suited to the circum- 
stances of the case. Indeed, Nicephorus asserts 
that Constantine, who considered himself quite as 
much the head of the church as was the pope, 
" directed that the day which the Jews consid- 
ered the first day of the week, and which the 
Greeks dedicated to the sun, should be called the 
Lord's day."^ The circumstances of the case ren- 
der the statements of Lucius and Nicephorus in 
the highest degree probable. They certainly do 
not indicate that the pope would deem such act 
on his part unnecessary. Take a recent event 
in papal history as an illustration of this case. 
Only a few years since, Pius IX. decreed that the 
virgin Mary was born without sin. This had 
long been asserted by many distinguished writ- 
ers in the papal church, but it lacked authority 
as a dogma of that church until the pope, A. D. 
1854, gave it his official sanction.^ It was the 
work of Constantine and of Sylvester in the 
early part of the fourth century to establish the 
festival of the sun, to be a day of rest, by the au- 
thority of the empire, and to render it a Chris- 
tian institution by the authority of St. Peter. 

The following from Dr. Heylyn, a distinguished 
member of the Church cf England, is worthy of 
particular attention. In most forcible language, 
he traces the steps by which the Sunday festival 
arose to power, contrasting it in this respect with 
the ancient Sabbath of the Lord ; and then, with 
equal truth and candor, he acknowledges that, as 

1 Quoted in Elliott's Horse Apocalypticae, fifth edition, vol. iv. 
p. 603. • 
' McGIintock and Strong's Cyclopedia, vol, iv. p. 500. 


the festival of Sunday was set up by the emperor 
and the church, the same power can take it down 
whenever it sees lit. Thus he says : — 

' ' Thus do we see upon what grounds the Lord's day- 
stands ; ON CUSTOM FIRST, and voluntary consecration 
of it to religious meetings ; that custom countenanced by 
the authority of the church of God, which tacitly ap- 
proved the same ; and finally confirmed and ratified 
BY Christian princes throughout their empires. And 
as the day for rest from labors and restraint from busi- 
ness upon that day, [it] received its greatest strength 
from the supreme magistrate as long as he retained that 
X^ov.-er which to liim belongs ; as after from the canons 
and decrees of councils, the decretals of popes and orders 
of particular prelates, when the sole managing of ecclesi- 
astical affairs was committed to them, 

" I hope it was not so with the former Sabbath, which 
neither took original from custom, that people being not 
so forward to give God a day ; nor required any coun- 
tenance or authority from the kings of Israel to confirm 
and ratify it. The Lord had spoke the word, that he 
would have one day in seven, precisely the seventh day 
from the world's creation, to be a day of rest unto all his 
people ; wliich said, there was no more to do but gladly 
to submit and obey his pleasure. . . . But thus it 
Avas not done in our present business. The Lord's day 
had no such command that it should be sanctified, but 
was left plainly to God's people to pitch on this, or any 
other, for the public use. And being taken up amongst 
them and made a day of meeting in the congregation for 
religious exercises ; yet for three hundred years there was 
neither law to bind them to it, nor any rest from labor or 
from worldly business required upon it. 

' ' And when it seemed good unto Christian princes, the 
nursing fathers of God's church, to lay restraints upon 
their people, yet at the first they were not general ; but 
only thus that certain men in certain places should lay 
aside their ordinary and daily works, to attend God's ser- 
vice in the church ; those whose employments were most 
toilsome and most repugnant to the true nature of a Sab- 
bath, being alloAved to follow and pursue their labors be- 
cause most necessary to the commonwealth. 

''And in the following times, when as the prince and 


prelate, in tlieir several places endeavored to restrain 
tliem from that also, which formerly they had permitted,, 
and interdicted almost all kinds of bodily labor upon that 
day ; it was not brought about without much struggling 
and an opposition of the people ; more than a thousand 
years being past, after Christ's ascension, before the 
Lord's day had attained that state in which now it stand- 
eth. . . . And being brought into that state, wherein 
now it stands, it doth not stand so firmly and on such 
sure grounds, but that those powers which raised it up 
may take it lower if they please, yea take it quite away 
as unto the time, and settle it on any other day as to 
them seems best."^ 

Constantine's edict marks a signal change in 
the history of the Sunday festival Dr. Heylyn 
thus testifies : — 

"Hitherto have we spoken of the Lord's day as taken 
up by the common consent of the church ; not instituted 
or established by any text of Scripture, or edict of empe- 
ror, or decree of council. ... In that which folio w- 
eth, we shall find both emperors and councils very fre- 
quent in ordering things about this day and the service 
of it."- 

After his professed conversion to Christianity, 
Constantine still further exerted his power in be- 
half of the venerable day of the sun, now hap- 
pily transformed into the Lord's day, by the 
apostolic authority of the Roman bishop. Hey- 
lyn thus testifies : — 

'' So natural a power it is in a Christian prince to or- 
der things about religion, that he not only took upon him 
to command the day, but also to prescribe the service."^ 

The influence «f Constantine powerfully con- 
tributed to the aid of those church leaders who 
were intent upon bringing the forms of pagan 

1 Hist. Sab. part ii. chap. iii. sect. 12. 

2 Hist. Sab. part ii. chap. iii. sect. 1. 

3 Id. lb. 


worship into the Christian church. Gibbon thus 
places upon record the motives of these men, and 
the result of their action : — 

''The most respectable bishops had persuaded them- 
selves that the ignorant rustics would more cheerfully re- 
nounce the superstition of paganism, if they found some 
resemblance, some compensation, in the bosom of Chris- 
tianit3^ The religion of Constantine achieved in less 
than a century, the final conquest of the Roman Empire : 
but the victors themselves were insensibly subdued by the 
arts of their vanquished rivals."^ 

The body of nominal Christians, which resulted 
from this strange union of pagan rites with 
Christian worship, arrogated to itself the title of 
Catholic church, while the true people of God, 
who resisted these dangerous innovations, were 
branded as heretics, and cast out of the church. 
It is not strange that the Sabbath should lose 
ground in such a body, in its struggle with its 
rival, the festival of the sun. Indeed, after a 
brief period, the history of the Sabbath will be 
found only in the almost obliterated records of 
those whom the Catholic church cast out and 
stigmatized as heretics. Of the Sabbath in Con- 
stantine's time, Heylyn says : — 

"As for the Saturday, that retained its wonted credit 
in the eastern churches, little inferior to the Lord's day, 
if not plainly equal ; not as a Sabbath, think not so ; but 
as a day designed unto sacred meetings."" 

There is no doubt that, after the great flood of 
worldliness which entered the church at the time 
of Constantine's pretended conversion, and after 
all that was done by himself and by Sylvester in 
behalf of Sunday, the observance of the Sabbath 

> Dec. and Fall, chap, xxviii. 

'■' Hist. Sab. part ii. chap. iii. sect. 5. 


became, with many, only a nominal thing. But 
the action of the council of Laodicea, to which 
we shall presently come, proves conclusively that 
the Sabbath was still observed, not simply as a 
festival, as Heylyn would have it, but as a day 
of abstinence from labor, as enjoined in the com- 
mandment. The work of Constantine, however, 
marks an epoch in the history of the Sabbath 
and of Sunday. Constantine was hostile to the 
Sabbath, and his influence told powerfully against 
it with all those who sought worldly advance- 
ment. The historian Eusebius was the special 
friend and eulogist of Constantine. This fact 
should not be overlooked in weighing his testi- 
mony concerning the Sabbath. He speaks of it 
as follows : — 

" They [the patriarchs] did not, therefore, regard cir- 
cumcision, nor observe the Sabbath, nor do we ; neither 
do we abstain from certain foods, nor regard other injunc- 
tions, which Moses subsequently delivered to be observed 
in types and symbols, because such things as these do not 
belong to Christians."^ 

This testimony shows precisely the views of 
Constantine and the imperial party relative to 
the Sabbath. But it does not give the views of 
Christians as a whole ; for we have seen that the 
Sabbath had been extensively retained up to this 
point, and we shall .soon have occasion to quote 
other historians, the cotemporaries and successors 
of Eusebius, who record its continued observance. 
Constantine exerted a controlling influence in 
the church, and was determined to " have noth- 
ing in common with that most hostile rabble of 
the Jews." Happy would it have been had his 

1 Eccl. Hist, book i. chap. iv. 


aversion been directed against the festivals of the 
heathen i-ather than against the Sabbath of the 

Before Constantine's time, there is no trace of 
the doctrine of the change of the Sabbath. On 
the contrary, we haA^e decisive evidence that 
Sunday was a day on which ordinary labor was 
considered lawful and proper. But Constantine, 
while yet a heathen, commanded that every kind 
of business excepting agriculture should be laid 
aside on that day. His law designated the day as 
a heathen festival, which it actually v,^as. But 
within four years after its enactment, Constan- 
tine had become, not merely a professed convert 
to the Christian religion, but, in many respects, 
practically the head of the church, as the course 
of things at the council of Nice plainly showed. 
His heathen Sunday law, being unrevoked, was 
thenceforward enforced in behalf of that day as 
a Christian festival. This law gave to the Sun- 
day festival, for the first time, something of a 
Sabbatic character. It was now a rest-day from 
most kinds of business by the law of the Roman 
Empire. God's rest-day was thenceforward more 
in the way than ever before. 

But now we come to a fact of remarkable in- 
terest. The way having been prepared, as we 
have just seen, for the doctrine of the change of 
the Sabbath, and the circumstances of the case 
demanding its production, it was at this very 
point brought forward for the first time. Euse- 
bius, the special friend and flatterer of Constan- 
tine, was the man who first put forth this doctrine. 
In his " Commentary on the Psalms," he makes 
the following statement on Psalm xcii. respect- 
ing the change of the Sabbath : — 


'' Wherefore as they [the Jews] rejected it [the Sab- 
bath law] the Word [Christ], by the new covenant, trans- 
lated and TRANSFERRED the feast of the Sabbath to the 
morning light, and gave us the symbol of true rest, viz., 
the saving Lord's day, the first [day] of the light, in 
which the Saviour of the world, after all his labors among 
men, obtained the victory over death, and passed the 
portals of Heaven, having achieved a Avork sux>erior to 
the six-days' creation."^ 

' ' On this day, which is the first [day] of light and of 
the true Sun, we assemble, after an interval of six days, 
and celebrate holy and spiritual Sabbaths, even all na- 
tions redeemed by him throughout the world, and do 
those things according to the spiritual law, which were 
decreed for the priests to do on the Sabbath."" 

' ' And all things whatsoever that it was duty to do on 
the Sabbath, these we have transferred to the Lord's day, 
as more appropriately belonging to it, because it has a 
precedence and is first in ra,nk, and more honorable than 
the Jewish Sabbath."^ 

Eusebius was under the strongest temptation 
to please and even to flatter Constantine ; for he 
lived in the sunshine of imperial favor. On one 
occasion, he went so far as to say that the city of 
Jerusalem, which Constantine had rebuilt, might 
be the New Jerusalem predicted in the prophe- 
cies !^ But perhaps there Vv^as no act of Eusebius 
that could give Constantine greater pleasure than 
his publication of such doctrine as this respecting 
the change of the Sabbath. The emperor had, 
by the civil law, given to Sunday a Sabbatical 
character. Though he had done this while yet a 
heathen, he found it to his interest to maintain 
this law after he obtained a commanding position 

1 Eusebius' Commentary on the Psalms, quoted in Cox's Sab- 
bath Literature, vol. 1. p.'sSl ; also in Justin Edward's Sabbath 
Manual, pp. 125-127. 2 id. lb. Hd. lb. 

^ Eusebius' Life of Constantine, 3, 33, quoted in Elliott's Ilorai 
Apocalypticye, vol. i. p. 256. 


in the Catholic church. When, therefore, Euse- 
bius came out and declared that Christ trans- 
ferred the Sabbath to Sunday, a doctrine never 
before heard of, and in support of which he had 
no Scripture to quote, Constantine could not but 
feel in the highest degree flattered that his own 
Sabbatical edict pertained to the very day which 
Christ had ordained to be the Sabbath in place 
of the seventh. It was a convincing proof that 
Constantine was divinely called to his high posi- 
tion in the Catholic church, that he should thus 
exactly identify his work with that of Christ, 
though he had no knowledge at the time that 
Christ had done any work of the kind. 

As no writer before Eusebius had ever hinted 
at the doctrine of the change of the Sabbath, and 
as there is the most convincing proof, as we have 
shown, that before his time Sunday possessed no 
Sabbatic character, and as Eusebius does not 
claim that this doctrine is asserted in the Script- 
ures, nor in any preceding ecclesiastical writer, 
it is certain that he was the father of the doc- 
trine. This new doctrine was not put forth 
without some motive. That motive could not 
have been to bring forward some neglected pas- 
sages of the Scriptures ; for he does not quote 
a single text in its support. But the circum- 
stances of the case plainly reveal the motive. The 
new doctrine was exactly adapted to the new or- 
der of things introduced by Constantine. It was, 
moreover, peculiarly suited to flatter that empe- 
ror's pride, the very thing which Eusebius was 
under the strongest temptation to do. 

It is remarkable, however, that Eusebius, in 
the very connection in which he announces this 
new doctrine, unwittingly exposes its falsity. 


He first asserts that Christ changed the Sabbath, 
and then virtually contradicts it by indicating 
the real authors of the change. Thus he says : — 

''AH tilings whatsoever that it was duty to do on the 
Sabbath, these we have transferred to the Lord's day."^ 

The persons here referred to as the authors of 
this work are the Emperor Constantine, and such 
bishops as Eusebius, who loved the favor of 
princes, and Sylvester, the pretended successor 
of Saint Peter. Two facts refute the assertion of 
Eusebius that Christ changed the Sabbath : 1. 
That Eusebius, who lived three hundred years 
after the alleged change, is the first man who 
mentions such change ; 2. That Eusebius testifies 
that himself and others made this change, which 
they could not have done had Christ made it at 
the beginning. But though the doctrine of the 
change of the Sabbath was thus announced by 
Eusebius, it was not seconded by any writer of 
that age. The doctrine had never been heard of 
before, and Eusebius had simply his own asser- 
tion, but no passage of the Holy Scriptures to 
offer in its support. 

But after Constantine, the Sabbath began to 
recover strength, at least in the eastern churches. 
Prof. Stuart, in speaking of the period from 
Constantine to the council of Laodicea, A. D. 364, 
says : — 

' ' The practice of it [the keeping of the Sabbath] was 
continued by Christians who were jealous for the honor 
of the Mosaic law, and finally became, as we have seen, 
predominant throughout Christendom. It was supposed 
at length that the fourth commandment did require the 
observance of the seventh-day Sabbath (not merely a sev- 
enth part of time), and reasoning as Christians of the 

1 Cox's Sabbath Literature, vol. 1. p. 361. 


X)resent day are wont to do, viz, , that all which belonged 
to the ten commandments Avas immutable and perpetual, 
the churches in general came gradually to regard the sev- 
enth-day Sabbath as altogether sacred."^ 

Prof. Stuart, however, connects with this the 
statement that Sunday was honored by all par- 
ties. But the council of Laodicea struck a heavy 
blow at this Sabbath-kee-pinor in the eastern 

J. o 

church. Thus Mr. James, in addressinor the 
University of Oxford, bears witness : — 

"When the practice of keeping Saturday Sabbaths, 
Avhich had become so general at the close of this century, 
was evidently gaining ground in the eastern church, a de- 
cree was passed in the council held at Laodicea [a. d. 
364] ' that members of the church should not rest from 
work on the Sabbath like Jews, but should labor on that 
day, and preferring in honor the Lord's day, then if it 
be in their power should rest from work as Christians.' "- 

This shows conclusively that at that period 
the observance of the Sabbath according to the 
commandment was extensive in the eastern 
churches. But the Laodicean council, not only 
forbade the observance of the Sabbath, they even 
pronounced a curse on those who should obe}' the 
fourth commandment ! Prynne thus testifies : — 

" It is certain that Christ himself, his apostles, and the 
primitive Christians for some good space of time, did con- 
stantly observe the seventh-day Sabbath ; . . . the evan- 
gelists and St. Luke in the Acts ever styling it the Sab- 
bath day, . . . and making mention of its . . . solemniza- 
tion by the apostles and other Christians, ... it being still 
solemnized by many Christians after the apostles' times, 
even till the council of Laodicea [a. d. 364], as ecclesi- 
astical writers and the twenty-ninth canon of that council 

' Appendix to Gurney's History, &c., of the Sabbath, pp. 11. ' 
2 Sermon's on the Sacraments and Sabbath, pp. 122, 123. 


testify, which runs thus : ^ ' Because Christians ought not 
to Judaize, and to rest in the Sabbath, "but to work in that 
day (which many did refuse at that time to do). But prefer- 
ring in honor the Lord's day (there being then a great con- 
troversy among Christians which of these two days . . . 
should have precedency) if they desired to rest they should 
do this as Christians. Wherefore if they shall be found 
to Judaize, let them be accursed from Christ. ' . . . The 
seventh-day Sabbath was . . . solemnized by Christ, the 
apostles and primitive Christians, till the Laodicean coun- 
cil did in a manner quite abolish the observation of it. 
The council of Laodicea [a. d. 364] . . . first set- 
tled the observation of the Lord's day, and prohibited 
. . . the keeping of the Jewish Sabbath under an anath- 

The action of this council did not extirpate 
the Sabbath from the eastern churches, though it 
did materially weaken its influence, and cause its 
observance to become with many only a nominal 
thing, while it did most effectually enhance the 
sacredness and the authority of the Sunday festi- 
val. That it did not wholly extinguish Sabbath- 
keeping is thus certified by an old English 
writer, John Ley : — 

'^ From the apostles' time until the council of Laodicea, 
which was about the year 364, the holy observation of the 
Jews' Sabbath continued, as may be proved out of many 
authors ; yea, notwithstanding the decree of that council 
against it." ^ 

And Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, about A. D. 
372, uses this expostulation : — 

'' With what eyes can you behold the Lord's day, when 
you despise the Sabbath? Do you not perceive that 

1 Quod non oportet Christianos Judaizere et otiare in Sabbato, 
sed operari in eodem die. Preferentes autem in veneratione 
Dominicum diem si vacare voluerint, ut Christiani hoc faciat ; 
qiiod si reperti fuerint Judaizare Anathema sint a Christo. 

2 Dissertation on the Lord's-day Sabbath, pp. 33, 3i, 4t. 1(333. 

3 Sunday a Sabbath, p. Ifi3. HUO. 

Sabbath Historv. ^4= 


they are sisters, and that in slighting the one, you affront 
the other ?" ^ 

This testimony is valuable in that it marks 
the progress of apostasy concerning the Sabbath. 
The Sunday festival entered the church, not as a 
divine institution, but as a vokmtary observance. 
Even as late as A. D. 200, Tertullian said that it 
had only tradition and custom in its support. ^ 

But in A. D. 872, this human festival had be- 
come the sister and equal of that day which God 
hallowed in the beginning and solemnly com- 
manded in the moral law. How worthy to be 
called the sister of the Sabbath the Sunday fes- 
tival actually was, may be judged from what fol- 
lowed. When this self-styled sister had gained 
an acknowledged position in the family, she ex- 
pelled the other, and trampled her in the dust. 
In our days, the Sunday festival claims to be the 
very day intended in the fourth commandment. 

The following testimonies exhibit the authority 
of church councils in its true light. Jortin is 
quoted by Cox as saying : — 

" In such assemblies, the best and the most moderate 
men seldom have the ascendant, and they are often led 
or driven by others who are far inferior to them in good 
qualities." ^ 

The same writer gives us Baxter's opinion 
of the famous Westminster Assembly. Baxter 
says : — 

''I have lived to see an assembly of ministers, where 
three or four leading men were so prevalent as to form a 
confession in the name of the whole party, which had 

1 Dialogues on the Lord's Day, p. 188; Hesscy's Bampton Lec- 
tures, pp. 72, 304, 305. 
^Tertullian's De Corona, sections 3 and 4. 
8 Sabbath Laws, Ac. p. 138. 


that in it \Yliicli particular members did disown. And 
when about a controverted article, one man hath charged 
me deeply with questioning the words of the church, 
others, who were at the forming of that article have laid 
it all on that same man, the rest being loth to strive 
much against him ; and so it was he himself was the 
church whose authority he so much urged." ^ 

Such has been the nature of councils in all 
ages; yet they have ever claimed infallibility, 
and have largely used that infallibility in the 
suppression of the Sabbath and the establishment 
of the festival of Sunday. Of first-day sacred- 
ness prior to, and as late as, the time of Chrysos- 
tom, Kitto thus testifies : — 

'^Though in later times we find considerable reference 
to a sort of consecration of the day, it does not seem at any 
period of the ancient church to have assumed the form of 
such an observance as some modern religious communities 
have contended for. Nor do these writers in any instance 
pretend to allege any divine command, or even apostolic 
practice, in support of it. . . . Chrysostom (a. d. 360) 
concludes one of his Homilies by dismissing his audience 
to their respective ordinary occupations."^ 

It was reserved for modern theologians to dis- 
cover the divine or apostolic authority for Sunday 
observance. The ancient doctors of the church 
were unaware that any such authority existed ; 
and hence they deemed it lawful and proper to 
engage in usual worldly business on that day 
when their religious worship was concluded. 
Thus, Heylyn bears witness concerning St. 
Chrysostom that he 

'' Confessed it to be lawful for a man to look unto his 
worldly business on the Lord's day, after the congrega- 
tion was dismissed." ^ 

1 Sabbath Laws, &c. p. 138. 

"Cyc. Bib. Lit. art. Lord's Day ; Heylyn's Hist. Sab. part ii. 
chap. ii. sect. 7. ^ Hist. Sab. part i'i. chap. iii. sect. 9. 


St. Jerome, a fow years after this, at the open- 
ing of the fifth century, in his commendation of 
the lady Paula, shows his own opinion of Sunday 
labor. Thus he says : — 

''Paula, with the women, as soon as they returned 
home on the Lord's day, they sat doMTi severally to their 
work, and made clothes for themselves and others."^ 

Morer justifies this Sunday labor in the follow- 
ing terms : — 

"If we read they did any work on the Lord's day, it 
is to be remembered that this application to their daily 
tasks was not till their worship was quite over, when they 
might with innocency enough resume them, because the 
length of time or the number of hours assigned for piety 
was not then so well explained as in after ages. The 
state of the church is vastly different from what it was in 
those early days. Christians then for some centuries of 
years were under persecution and poverty ; and besides 
their own wants, they had many of them severe masters 
who compelled them to work, and made them bestow 
less time in spiritual matters than they otherwise would. 
In St. Jerome's age their condition was better, because 
Christianity had got into the throne as well as into the 
empire. Yet for all this, the entire sanctification of the 
Lord's day proceeded slowly : and that it was the work 
of time to bring it to perfection, appears from the several 
steps the church made in her constitutions, and from the 
decrees of emperors and other princes, wherein the pro- 
hibitions from servile and civil business advanced by 
degrees from one species to another, till the day had got 
a considerable figure in the world, Now, therefore, the 
case being so much altered, the most proper use of citing 
those old examples is only, in point of doctrine, to show 
that ordinary work, as being a compliance with provi- 
dence for the support of natural life, is not sinful even on 
the Lord's day, when necessity is loud, and the laws of 
that church and nation where we live are not against it. 
This is what the first Christians had to say for themselves, 

> Dialogues on the Lord's Day, p. 204; Hist. Sab. part ii. chap, 
iii. S2ct. 7. 


in the works tliey did on that day. And if those works 
had been then judged a prophanation of the festival, I 
dare believe, they would have suffered martyrdom rather 
than been guilty," ^ 

The bishop of Ely thus testifies : — 

''In St Jerome's days, and in the very place where he 
was residing, the devoutest Christians did ordinarily work 
upon the Lord's day, when the service of the church was 
ended." " 

• St. Augustine, the cotemporary of Jerome, 
gives a synopsis of the argument in that age for 
Sunday observance, in the following words : — 

' ' It apiDears from the sacred Scriptures, that this day 
was a solemn one ; it was the first day of the age, that is 
of the existence of our world ; in it the elements of the 
world were formed ; on it the angels were created ; on it 
Christ rose also from the dead ; on it the Holy Spirit de- 
scended from Heaven upon the apostles as manna had 
done in the wilderness. For these and other such cir- 
cumstances the Lord's day is distinguished ; and there- 
fore the holy doctors of the church have decreed that all 
the glory of the Jewish Sabbath is transferred to it. Let 
us therefore keep the Lord's day as the ancients were 
commanded to do the Sabbath. " ^ 

It is to be observed that Augustine does not 
assign among his reasons for first-day observance, 
the change of the Sabbath by Christ or his apos- 
tles, or that the apostles observed that day, or 
that John had given it the name of Lord's day. 
These modern first-day arguments were unknown 
to Augustine. He gave the credit of the work, 
not to Christ or his inspired apostles, but to the 
holy doctors of the church, who, of their own ac- 
cord, had transferred the glory of the ancient 
Sabbath to the venerable day of the sun. The 

' Dialogues on the Lord's Dar, pp. 236, 237 
2 Treatise of the Sabbath, p. 219. 
'Sabbath Laws, &c. p. 284, 


first day of tlie week was considered in the fifth 
century the most proper day for giving holy or- 
ders, that is, for ordinations, and about the mid- 
dle of this century, says Heylyn, 

''A law [was] made by Leo then Pope of Rome, and 
generally since taken up in the western church, that they 
should be conferred upon no day else." ^ 

According to Dr. Justin Edwards, this same 
pope made also this decree in behalf of Sun- 

''We ordain, according to the true meaning of the 
Holy Ghost, and of the apostles as thereby directed, that 
on the sacred day wherein our own integrity was restored, 
all do rest and cease from labor." " 

Soon after this edict of the pope, the emperor 
Leo, A. D. 469, put forth the following decree : — 

"It is our will and pleasure, that the holy days dedi- 
cated to the most high God, should not be spent in sens- 
ual recreations, or otherwise prophaned by suits of law, 
especially the Lord's day, which we decree to be a vener- 
able day, and therefore free it of all citations, executions, 
pleadings, and the like avocations. Let not the circus or 
theater be opened, nor combating with wild beasts be 

seen on it If any will presume to ojffend in the 

premises, if he be a military man, let him lose his com- 
mission ; or if other, let his estate or goods be confis- 

And this emperor determined to mend the 
breach in Constantine's law, and thus prohibit 
agriculture on Sunday. So he adds : — 

''We command therefore all, as well husbandmen as 
others, to forbear work on this day of our restoration."* 

The holy doctors of the church had by this 

J Hist. Sab. part ii. chap. iv. sect. 8. 

2 Sabbath Manual, p. 123. 

'Dialogues on the Lord's Day, p. 250. Md. p. 20O. 


time very effectuall}^ despoiled the Sabbath of its 
glory, transferring it to the Lord's day of Pope 
Sylvester ; as Augustine testifies ; yet was not 
Sabbatical observance wholly extinguished even 
in the Catholic church. The historian Socrates, 
who wrote about the middle of the fifth century, 
thus testifies : — 

''For altliougli almost all churches throughout the 
world celebrate the sacred mysteries on the Sabbath of 
every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at 
Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, refuse to do 
this. The Egyptians in the neighborhood of Alexandria, 
and the inhabitants of Thebais, hold their religious meet- 
ings on the Sabbath, but do not participate of the mys- 
teries in the manner usual among Christians in general — 
for after having eaten and satisfied themselves with food 
of all kinds, in the evening, making their oblations, they 
partake of the mysteries."^ 

As the church of Rome had turned the Sab- 
bath into a fast some two hundred years before 
this, in order to oppose its observance, it is prob- 
able that this was the ancient tradition referred 
to by Socrates. And Sozomen, the cotemporary 
of Socrates, speaks on the same point as fol- 
lows : — 

"The people of Constantinople, and of several other 
cities, assemble together on the, as well as on 
the next day ; which custom is never observed at Rome, 
or at Alexandria. There are several cities and villages in 
Egypt where, contrary to the usages established else- 
where, the people meet together on Sabbath evenings ; 
and although they have dined previously, partake of the 

On the 'statement of these historians. Cox re- 
marks : — 

1 Socrates, book v. chap. xxii. 

2 Sozomen, book vii. chap. I'J ; Lardncr, vol. iv. chap. Ixxxv. 

p. 217. 


"It was their practice to Sabbatize on Saturday, and to 
celebrate Sunday as a day of rejoicing and festivity. 
While, however, in some places a respect was thus gener- 
ally paid to both of these days, the Judaizing practice 
of observing Saturday was by the leading churches ex- 
pressly condemned, and all the doctrines connected with 
it steadfastly resisted. " — Sabbath Laws, p. 280. 

The time had now come, when, as stated by 
Coleman, the observance of the Sabbath was 
deemed heretical ; and the close of the fifth cen- 
tury witnessed its effectual suppression in the 
great body of the Catholic church. 



The pope becomes the head of all the churches — The people 
of God retire into the wilderness — Sunday to be traced 
through the Dark Ages in the history of the Catholic church 
— State of that festival in the sixth century — It did not ac- 
quire the title of Sabbath for many ages — Time when it 
became a day of abstinence from labor in the east — When 
in the west — Sunday canon of the first council of Orleans 
— Of the council of Arragon — Of the third council of Or- 
leans — Of a council at Mascon — At Narbon — At Auxerre — 
Miracles establishing the sacredness of Sunday — The pope 
advises men to atone, by the pious observance of Sunday, 
for the sins of the previous week — The Sabbath and Sun- 
day both strictly kept by a class at Rome who were put 
dov.-n by the pope — According to Twisse they were two 
distinct classes — The Sabbath, like its Lord, crucified be- 
tween two thieves — Council of Chalons — At. Toledo, in 
which the Jews were forbidden to keep the Sabbath and 
commanded to keep Sunday — First English law for Sunday 
— Council at Constantinople — In England — In Bavaria — 
Canon of the archbishop of York — Statutes of Charlemagne 
and canons of councils which he called — The pope aids in 
the work — Council at Paris originates a famous first-day 


argument — The councils fail to establish Sunday sacred- 
ness — The emperors besought to send out some more ter- 
rible edict in order to compel the observance of that day 
— The pope takes the matter in hand in earnest and gives 
Sunday an eflFectual establishment — Other statutes and can- 
ons — Sunday piety of a Norwegian king — Sunday conse- 
crated to the mass — Curious but obsolete first-day argu- 
ments — The eating of meat forbiaklen upon the Sabbath by 
the pope — Pope Urban II. ordains the Sabbath of the Lord 
to be a festival for the worship of the Virgin Mary — Ap- 
parition from St. Peter — The pope sends Eustace into 
England with a roll that fell from Heaven commanding 
Sunday observance under direful penalties — Miracles 
which followed — Sunday established in Scotland — Other 
Sunday laws down to the Reformation — Sunday always 
only a human ordinance. 

The opening of the sixth century witnessed 
the development of the great apostasy to such an 
extent that the man of sin might be plainly seen 
sitting in the temple of God.^ The western Ro- 
man Empire had been broken up into ten king- 
doms, and the way was now prepared for the 
work of the little horn.- In the early part of this 
century, the bishop of Rome was made head over 
the entire church by the emperor of the east, 
Justinian.^ The dragon gave unto the beast his 
power, and his seat, and great authority. From 
this accession to supremacy by the Roman pon- 
tiff, date the " time, times, and dividing of time," 
or twelve hundred and sixty years of the proph- 
ecies of Daniel and John/ 

The true people of God now' retired for safety 
into places of obscurity and seclusion, as repre- 
sented by the prophecy : " The woman fled into 
the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared 

i2Thess. 2, 2 Dan. 7. 

sShimeall's Bible Chronology, part ii. chap. ix. sect. 5, pp. 17o, 
1 7*5 ; Croly on the Apocalvpse, pp. 167-173. 
<Dan. 7 : 8, 24, 25 ; Rev. 13 : 1-5. 


of God, that they should feed her there a thou- 
sand two hundred and threescore days."^ Leav- 
ing their history for the present, let us follow- 
that of the Catholic church, and trace in its rec- 
ord the history of the Sunday festival through 
the period of the Dark Ages. Of the fifth and 
sixth centuries, Heylyn bears the following tes- 
timony : — 

"The faithful being united better than before, became 
more uniform in matters of devotion ; and in that uni- 
formity did agree together to give the Lord's day all the 
honors of an holy festival. Yet was not this done all at 
once, but by degrees ; the fifth and sixth centuries being 
■well-nigh spent before it came into that height which 
hath since continued. The emperors and the prelates in 
these times had the same affections ; both [being] earn- 
est to advance this day above all other ; and to the 
edicts of the one and ecclesiastical constitutions of the 
other, it stands indebted for many of those privileges and 
exemptions which it still enjoyeth."- 

But Sunday had not yet acquired the title of 
Sabbath. Thus Brerewood bears testimony : — 

''The name of the Sabbath remained appropriated to 
the old Sabbath ; and was never attributed to the Lord's 
day, not of many hundred years after our Saviour's time."* 

And Heylyn says of the term Sabbath in the 
ancient church : — 

"The Saturday is called amongst them by no other 
name than that which formerly it had, the Sahhath. So 
that whenever for a thousand years and upwards, we 
meet with Sabbatum in any writer of what name soever, 
it must be understood of no day but Saturday.''* 

Dr. Francis White, bishop of Ely, also testi- 
fies : — 

'Rev. 12. 2 Hist. Sab. part ii. chap. iv. sect. 1. 

=* Learned Treatise of the Sabbath, p. 7", ed. lOSl. 
* Hist. Sab. ]>art ii. chap. ii. sect. 1-'. 


" Wlien the ancient fathers distinguish and give proper 
names to the particular days of the week, they always 
style the Saturday, Sahbatum, the Sabbath, and the Sun- 
day, or first day of the week, Dominicxim, the Lord's 

It should be observed, however, that the earli- 
est mention of Sunday as the Lord's day, is in 
the writings of Tertullian ; Justin Martyr, some 
sixty years before, styling it '' the day called Sun- 
day ;" while the authoritative application of that 
term to Sunday was by Sylvester, bishop of 
Rome, more than one hundred years after the 
time of Tertullian. The earliest mention of Sun- 
day as Christian Sabbath is thus noted by Hey- 

"The first who ever used it to denote the Lord's day 
(the first that I have met with in all this search) is one 
Petrus Alfonsus — he lived about the time that Rupertus 
did — [which was the beginning of the twelfth century] 
who calls the Lord's day by the name of Christian Sab- 
bath. "- 

Of Sunday labor in the eastern church, Hey- 
lyn says : — 

" It was near nine hundred years from our Saviour's 
birth if not quite so much, before restraint of husbandry 
on this day h?d been first thought of in the east ; and 
probably being thus restrained did find no more obedi- 
ence there than it had done before in the western parts. " ^ 

Of Sunday labor in the western church. Dr. 
Francis White thus testifies : — 

" The Catholic church for more than six hundred years 
after Christ, permitted labor, and gave license to many 
Christian people to work upon the Lord's day, at such 

1 Treatise of the Sabbath Day, p. 202. 

2 Hist. Sab. part ii. chRp. v. sect. 13. 

3 Id. part ii. chap. v. sect. 6. 

372 HISTORY OF the sabbath. 

hours as they were not commanded to be present at tlie 
public service by the precej^t of the church."^ 

But let US trace the several steps by which the 
festival of Sunday increased in strength until it 
attained its complete development. These will 
be found at present mostly in the edicts of em- 
perors, and the decrees of councils. Morer tells 
us that, 

*' Under Clodoveus king of France met the bishops in 
the first council of Orleans [a. d. 507], where they obliged 
themselves and their successors, to be always at the 
church on the Lord's day, except in case of sickness or 
some great infirmity. And because they, with some other 
of the clergy in those days, took cognizance of judicial 
matters, therefore by a council at Arragon, about the 
year 518 in the reign of Theodorick, king of the Goths, it 
was decreed that ' No bishop or other person in holy or- 
ders should examine or pass judgment in any civil con- 
troversy on the Lord's day.' " " 

This shows that civil courts were sometimes 
held on Sunday by the bishops in those days ; 
otherwise such a prohibition would not have 
been put forth. Hengstenberg, in his notice of 
the third council of Orleans, gives us an insight 
into the then existing state of the Sunday festi- 
val : — 

''The third council of Orleans, a. d. 538, says in its 
twenty-ninth canon : ' The opinion is spreading amongst 
the people, that it is wrong to ride, or drive, or cook food, 
or do anything to the house, or the person on the Sun- 
day. But since such opinions are more Jewish than 
Christian, that shall be lawful in future, which has been 
so to the present time. On the other hand agricultural 
labor ought to be laid aside, in order that the people may 
not he prevented from attending church.' "^ 

» Treatise of the Sabbath Day, pp. 217, 218. 

2 Dialofijues on the iiOrd's Day, pp. 263, 264. 

3 The Jiord's Day, p. :'>8. 


Observe the reason assigned. It is not lest 
they violate the law of the Sabbath, but it is that 
they may not be kept from church. Another 
authority states the case thus : — 

'^ Labor in the country [on Sunday] was not prohibited 
till the council of Orleans, a. d. 538. It was thus an in- 
stitution of the church, as Dr. Paley has remarked. The 
earlier Christians met in the morning of that day for 
prayer and singing hymns in commemoration of Christ's 
resurrection, and then went about their usual duties. " ^ 

In A. D. 588, another council was holden, the 
occasion of which is thus stated : — 

''And because, notwithstanding all this care, the day 
was not duly observed, the bishops were again summoned 
to Mascon, a town in Burgundy, by King Gunthrum, and 
there they framed this canon : ' ^Notice is taken that 
Christian people, very much neglect and slight the Lord's 
day, giving themselves as on other days to common work, 
to redress which irreverence, for the future, we warn ev- 
ery Christian who bears not that name in vain, to give 
ear to our advice, knowing we have a concern on us for 
your good, and a power to hinder you to do evil. Keep 
then the Lord's day, the day of our new birth.' "- 

Further legislation being necessary, we are 

" About a year forward, there was a council at Narbon, 
w^hich forbid all persons of what country or quality so- 
ever, to do any servile work on the Lord's day. But if 
any man presumed to disobey this canon he was to be 
fined if a freeman, and if a servant, severely lashed. Or as 
Surius represents the penalty in the edict of King Recar- 
edus, wliich he put out, near the same time to strengthen 
the decrees of the council, ' Rich men were to be punished 
v^dth the loss of a moiety of their estates, and the poorer 
sort with perpetual banishment,' in the year of grace 590. 
Another synod was held at Auxerre a city in Champain, in 
the reign of Clotair king of France, where it was decreed 

1 Dictionary of Chronology, p. 815, art. Sunday. 
- Dialogues on the Lord's Day, p. --'i;.'). 

374 HISTORY OF the sabbath. 

. . . 'that no man should be allowed to plow, nor 
cart, or do any such thing on the Lord's day.' "^ 

Such were some of the efforts made in the 
sixth century to advance the sacredness of the 
Sunday festival. And Morer tells us that, 

"For fear the doctrine should not take without mir- 
acles to support it, Gregory of Tours [about a. d. 590] 
furnishes us with several to that purpose."" 

Mr. Francis West, an Eoglish first-day writer, 
gi-avely adduces one of these miracles in support 
of first-day sacredness : — 

"Gregory of Tours repprteth, 'that a husbandman, 
who upon the Lord's day went to plough his field, as he 
cleansed his plough with an iron, the iron stuck so fast 
in his hand that for two years he could not be delivered 
from it, but carried it about continually, to his exceeding 
great pain and shame.' "^ 

In the conclusion of the sixth century. Pope 
Gregory exhorted the people of Rome to "expiate 
on the day of our Lord's resurrection what was 
remissly done for the six days before."^ In the 
same epistle, this pope condemned a class of men 
at Rome who advocated the strict observance of 
both the Sabbath and the Sunday, styling them 
the preachers of Antichrist.^ This shows the in- 

1 Id. pp. 265, 266 ; Hist. Sab. part ii. chap. iv. sect. 7. 

2 Dialogues on the Lord's Day, p. 68. 

3 Historical and Practical Discourse on the Lord's Day, p. 174. 
* Dialogues on the Lord's Day, p. 282. 

«Fleury, Hist. Eccl. Tome viii. Livre xxxvi. sect. 22; Hey- 
Ijn's Hist. Sab. part ii. chap. v. sect. 1. Dr. TwMsse, however, 
asserts that the pope speaks of two classes. He gives Gregory's 
words as follows : "Relation is made unto me that certain men 
of a perverse spirit, have sowed among you some corrupt doc- 
trines contrary to our holy faith ; so as to forbid any work to be 
done on the Sabbath day : these men we may well call the preach- 
ers of Antichrist. . . . Another report was brought unto me; 
and what was that? That some perverse persons preach among 
you, that on the Lord's day none should be washed. This is 
clearly another point maintained by other persons, different from 


tolerant feeling of the papacy toward the Sab- 
bath, even when joined with the strict observance 
of Sunday. It also shoAvs that there were Sab- 
bath-keepers even in Rome itself as late as the 
seventh century ; although so far bewildered by 
the prevailing darkness that they joined with its 
observance a strict abstinence from labor on 

In the early part of the seventh century arose 
another foe to the Bible Sabbath in the person of 
Mahomet. To distinguish his followers alike from 
those who observed the Sabbath and those who 
observed the festival of Sunday, he selected Fri- 
day, the sixth day of the week, as their religious 
festival. And thus " the Mahometans and the 
Romanists crucified the Sabbath, as the Jews 
and the Romans did the Lord of the Sabbath, be- 
tween two thieves, the sixth and first day of the 
week."^ For Mahometanism and Romanism 
each suppressed the Sabbath over a wide extent 
of territory. About the middle of the seventh 
century, we have further canons of the church in 
behalf of Sunday : — 

" At Chalons, a city in Burgundy, about the year 654, 
there was a provincial synod which confirmed what had 
been done by the third council of Orleans, about the ob- 
servation of the Lord's day, namely that ' none should 
plow or reap, or do any other thing belonging to hus- 
bandry, on pain of the censures of the church ; which was 
the more minded, because backed with the secular power, 
and by an edict menacing such as offended herein ; who if 
bondmen, were to be soundly beaten, but if free, had three 

the former." — Morality of the Fourth Commandment, pp. 19, 20. 
If Dr. Twisse is right, the Sabbath-keepers in Rome about the 
year 600 were not chargeable with the Sunday observance above 

1 The idea is suggested by the language of an anonymous first- 
day writer of the seventeenth century, Irenasus Philalethes, in a 
work entitled '' Sabbato- Dominica,'^ pref. p. 11, London, 1643. 


admonitions, and then if faultj^, lost the third part of 
their patrimony, and if still obstinate were made slaves 
for the future. And in the first year of Eringius, about 
the time of Pope Agatho there sat the twelfth council of 
Toledo in Spain, a. d. 681, where the Jews were forbid 
to keep their own festivals, but so far at least observe the 
Lord's day as to do no manner of work on it, whereby 
they might express their contempt of Christ or his wor- 
ship.' "^ 

These were weighty reasons indeed for Sunday 
observance. Nor can it be thought strange that 
in the Dark Ages a constant succession of such 
thino^s should eventuate in the universal observ- 
ance of that day. Even the Jews were to be 
compelled to desist from Sabbath observance, 
and to honor Sunday by resting on that day 
from their labor. The earliest mention of Sun- 
day in English statutes appears to be the follow- 

A. D. 692. '^ Ina, king of the west Saxons, by the ad- 
vice of Cenred his father, and Heddes and Erkenwald his 
bishopa with all his aldermen and sages, in a great as- 
sembly of the servants of God, for the health of their 
souls, and common preservation of the kingdom, made 
several constitutions, of which this was the third : * If a 
servant do any work on Sunday by his master's order, 
he shall be free, and the master pay thirty shillings ; but 
if he went to work on his own head, he shall be either 
beaten with stripes, or ransom himself with a price. A 
freeman, if he works on this day, shall lose his freedom 
or pay sixty shillings ; if he be a priest, double.' "' 

The same year that this law was enacted in 
England, the sixth general council convened at 
Constantinople, which decreed that, 

*' If any bishop or other clergyman, or any of the laity, 
absented himself from the church three Sundays together, 
except in cases of very great necessity, if a clergyman, he 

1 Dialogues on the Lord's Day, p. liCT. » id. p. 033. 


was to be deposed ; if a layman, debarred the holy com- 

In the year 747, a council of the English clergy 
was called under Cuthbert, archbishop of Canter- 
bury, in the reign of Egbert, king of Kent, and 
this constitution made : — 

'^It is ordered that the Lord's day be celebrated with 
due veneration, and wholly devoted to the worship of 
God. And that all abbots and priests, on this most holy 
day, remain in their respective monasteries and churches, 
and there do their duty according to their places."" 

Another ecclesiastical statute of the eighth 
century was enacted at Dingosolinum in Bavaria, 
where a synod met about 772 which decreed that, 

" If any man shall work his cart on this day, or do any 
such common business, his team shall be presently forfeited 
to the public use, and if the party persists in his folly, let 
him be sold for a bondman."" 

The English were not behind their neighbors 
in the good work of establishing the sacred ness 
of Sunday. Thus we read : — 

A. D. 784. ''Egbert, archbishop of York, to show 
positively what was to be done on Sundays, and what the 
laws designed by prohibiting ordinary work to be done on 
such days, made this canon : ' Let nothing else, saith he, 
be done on the Lord's day, but to attend on God in hymns 
and psalms and spiritual songs. Whoever marries on 
Sunday, let him do penance for seven days.' " * 

In the conclusion of the eighth century, fur- 
ther efforts ^vere made in behalf of this favored 
day :— 

" Charles the Great summoned the bishops to Friuli, 
in Italy, where . . . they decreed [a. d. 791] that all 
people should, with due reverence and devotion, honor the 

1 Dialogu«s, &c. p. 268. 2 id. pp. 283, 281. 

3 Id, p. 268. " Id. p. 284. 

Sabbath Historv. yrj 


Lord's day Under the same prince another 

council was called three years later at Frankford in Ger- 
many, and there the limits of the Lord's day were deter- 
mined from Saturday evening to Sunday evening."^ 

The live councils of Mentz, Rheims, Tours, 
Chalons, and Aries, were all called in the year 
813 by Charlemagne. It would be too irksome to 
the reader to dwell upon the several acts of these 
councils in behalf of Sunday. They are of the 
same character as those already quoted. The 
council of Chalons, however, is worthy of being 
noticed in that, according to Morer, 

' ' They entreated the help of the secular power, and de- 
sired the emperor [Charlemagne] to pro^dde for the strict- 
er observation of it [Sunday]. Which he accordingly did, 
and left no stone unturned to secure the honor of the 
day. His care succeeded ; and during his reign, the 
Lord's day bore a considerable figure. But after his day, 
it put on another face. " " 

The pope lent a helping hand in checking the 
profanation of Sunday : — 

" And thereupon Pope Eugenius, in a synod held at 
Rome about 826, . . . gave directions that the parish 
priest should admonish such offenders and wish them to 
go to church and say tlieir prayers, lest otherwise they 
might bring some great calamity on themselves and 
neighbors. " ^ 

All this, however, was not sufficient, and so 
another council was summoned. At this council 
was brought forward — perhaps for the first time 
— the famous first-day argument now so familiar 
to all, that Sunday is proved to be the true Sab- 
bath because that men are struck by lightning 
wdio labor on that day. Thus we read : — 

''But these paternal admonitions turning to little ac- 
count, a provincial council was held at Paris three years 

J Dialogues, &c. p. '2G0. 2 id. p, 270. ^Id. p. 271. 


after ... in 829, wherein the prelates complain that 
' The Lord's day was not kept with reverence as became 
religion . . . which was the reason that God had sent 
several judgments on them, and in a very remarkable 
manner punished some people for slighting and abusing 
it. For, say they, many of us by our own knowledge, 
and some by hearsay know, that several countrymen fol- 
lowing their husbandry on this day have been killed with 
lightning, others, being siezed with convulsions in their 
joints, have miserably perished. Whereby it is apparent 
how high the displeasure of God was upon their neglect of 
this day. ' And at last they conclude that ' in the first place 
the priests and ministers, then kings and princes, and all 
faithful people be beseeched to use their utmost endeavors 
and care that the day be restored to its honor, and for 
the credit of Christianity more devoutly observed for the 
time to come.' "^ 

Further legislation being necessary, 

" It was decreed about seven years after in a council 
at Aken, under Lewis the Godly, that neither pleadings 
nor marriages should be allowed on the Lord's day."^ 

But the law of Charlemagne, though backed 
with the authority of the church, as expressed in 
the canons of the councils already quoted, by the 
remissness of Lewis, his successor became very 
feeble. It is evident that canons and decrees of 
councils, though fortified with the mention of 
terrible judgments that had befallen transgressors, 
were not yet sufficient to enforce the sacred day. 
Another and more terrific statute than any yet 
issued was sought at the hands of the emperor. 
Thus we read : — 

" Thereupon an address was made to the emperors, 
Lewis and Lotharius, that they would be pleased to take 
some care in it, and send out some precept or injunction 
more severe than what was hitherto extant, to strike 
terror into their subjects, and force them to forbear their 

1 Dialogue, &c. p. 271 ; Hist. Sab. part ii. chap. v. sect. 7. 

2 Dialogue.1, &c. p. 272. 


ploughing, pleading, and marketing, then gro%vn again 
into use ; which was done about the year 853 ; and to 
that end a synod was called at Rome under the popedom 
of Leo IV." 1 

The advocates of the first-day Sabbath have in 
all ages sought for a law capable of striking ter- 
ror into those who do not hallow that day. Tliey 
still continue the vain endeavor. But if they 
would honor the day which God set apart for 
the Sabbath, they would find in that law of fire 
which proceeded from his right hand a statute 
which renders all human legislation entirely un- 

At this synod the pope took the matter in 
hand in good earnest. Thus Heylyn testifies that 
under the emperors, Lewis and Lotharius, a synod 
was held at Rome A. D. 853, under pope Leo IV., 

' ' Where it was ordered more precisely than in former 
times that no man should from tlienceforth dare to make 
any markets on the Lord's day, no, not for tilings that 
were to eat : neither to do any kind of work that belonged 
to husbandry. Which canon being made at Rome, con- 
firmed at Compeigne, and afterwards incorporated as it 
was into the body of the canon law, became to be admit- 
ted, without further question, in most parts of Christen- 
dom ; especially when the popes had attained their height, 
and brought all Christian princes to be at their devotion. 
For then the people, who before had most opposed it, 
might have justly said, ' Behold two kings stood not be- 
fore him, how then shall we stand V Out of which con- 
sternation all men presently obeyed, tradesmen of all 
sorts being brought to lay by their labors ; and amongst 
those, the miller, though his work was easiest, and least 
of all required his presence."^ 

This was a most effectual establishment of 

1 Dialogue, &c. p. 261. 2 Ex. 20 : 8-11 ; Dcut. 33 : 

^Hist. Sab. part ii. chap. v. sect. 7 ; Morcr, p. 272. 


first-day sacredness. Five years after this we 
read as follows : — 

A. D. 858. ''The Bulgarians sent some questions to 
Pope Nicholas, to which they desired answers. And that 
[a^jswer] which concerned the Lord's day was that they 
should desist from all secular work, etc."^ 

Morer informs us respecting tlie civil power, 

" In this century the emperor [of Constantinople] Leo, 
surnamed the philosopher, restrained the works of hus- 
bandry, which, according to Constantine's toleration, 
were permitted in the east. The same care was taken in 
the west, by Theodorius, king of the Bavarians, who made 
this order, that ' If any person on the Lord's day yoked 
his oxen, or drove his wain, his right-side ox should be 
forthwith forfeited ; or if he made hay and carried it in, 
he was to be twice admonished to desist, which if he did 
not, he was to receive no less than fifty stripes. ' " " 

Of Sunday laws in England in this century, we 
read : — 

A. D. 876. "Alfred the Great, was the first who 
united the Saxon Heptarchy, and it was not the least 
part of his care to make a law that among other festivals 
this day more especially might be solemnly kept, because 
it was the day whereon our Saviour Christ overcame the 
devil ; meaning Sunday, which is the weekly memorial of 
our Lord's resurrection, whereby he overcame death, and 
him who had the power of death, that is the devil. And 
whereas before the single punishment for sacrilege com- 
mitted on any other day, was to restore the value of the 
thing stolen, and withal lose one hand, he added that if 
any person was found guilty of this crime done on the 
Lord's day, he should be doubly punished. " ^ 

Nineteen years later, the pope and his council 
still further streng-thened the sacred day. The 
council of Friburgh in Germany, A. D. 895, under 

1 Hist. Sab. part. ii. chap. v. sect. 7 ; Morer, p. 272. 

2 l)ialogiie.s, &c. pp. 261, 262. aid. pp. 284, 285. 


Pope Formosus, decreed that the Lord's day, 
men ''were to spend in prayers, and devote 
wholly to the service of God, who otherwise 
might be provoked to anger." ^ The work of 
establishing Sunday sacredness in England was 
carried steadily forward : — 

''King Athelston, ... in the year 928, made a law that 
there should be no marketing or civil pleadings on the 
Lord's day, under the penalty of forfeiting the commod- 
ity, besides a fine of thirty shillings for each oflense."^ 

In a convocation of the English clergy about 
this time, it was decreed that all sorts of traffic 
and the holding of courts, &c., on Sunday should 
cease. "And whoever transgressed in any of 
these instances, if a freeman, he was to pay twelve 
orse, if a servant, be severely whipt." We are 
further informed that, 

' ' About the year 943, Otho, archbishop of Canterbuiy, 
had it decreed that above all things the Lord's day should 
be kept with all imaginable caution, according to the canon 
and ancient practice." ^ 

A. D. 967. King Edgar ' ' commanded that the festival 
should be kept from three of the clock in the afternoon on 
Saturday, till day- break on Monday."* 

" King Ethelred the younger, son of Edgar, coming 
to the crown about the year 1009, called a general council 
of all the English clergy, under Elfeagus, archbishop of 
Canterbury, and Wolstan, archbishop of York. And 
there it was required that all persons in a more zealous 
manner should observe the Sunday, and what belonged 
to it."^ 

Nor did the Sunday festival fail to gain a foot- 
ing in Norway. Heylyn tells us of the piety of 
a Norwegian king by the name of Olaus, A. D. 

» Dialogues, &c. p. 274. ^Id. p. 285. aid. p. 286. 

«lb. lb. »ld. pp. 28(>, 287. 


" For being taken up one Sunday in some serious 
thoughts, and having in his hand a small walking stick, 
he took his knife and whittled it as men do sometimes, 
when their minds are troubled or intent on business. 
And when it had been told him as by way of jest how he 
had trespassed therein against the Sabbath, he gathered 
the small chips together, put them upon his hand, and 
set fire unto them, that so, saith Crantzius, he might re- 
venge that on himself what unawares he had committed 
against God's commandment."^ 

In Spain also the work went forward. A coun- 
cil was held at Coy, in Spain, A. D. 1050, under 
Ferdinand, king of Castile, in the days of Pope 
Leo IX., where it was decreed that the Lord's day 
"was to be entirely consecrated to hearing of 
mass." ^ 

To strengthen the sacredness of this venerable 
day in the minds of the people, the doctors of the 
church were not wanting. Heylyn makes the 
following statement : — 

"It was delivered of the souls in purgatory by Petrus 
Damiani, who lived A. d. 1056, that every Lord's day 
they were manumitted from their pains and fluttered up 
and down the lake Avernus, in the shape of birds." ^ 

At the same time, another argument of a sim- 
ilar kind was brought forward to render the ob- 
servance still more strict. Morer informs us 
respecting that class who in this age were most 
zealous advocates of Sunday observance : — 

" Yet still the others went on in their way ; and to in- 
duce their proselytes to spend the day with greater exact- 
ness and care, they brought in the old argument of com- 
passion and charity to the damned in hell, who during 
the day, have some respite from their torments, and the 

1 Hist. Sab. part ii. chap. v. sect. 

2 Dialogues, &c. p. 274. 

»Hist. Sab. part li. chap. v. sect. 

384 HISTORY OF the sap.cath. 

ease and liberty they have is more or less according to 
the zeal and degrees of keeping it Avell. " ^ 

If therefore they would strictly observe this 
sacred festival, their friends in hell would reap 
the benefit, in a respite from their torments on 
that day ! In a council at Rome, A. D. 1078, Pope 
Gregory VI I. decreed that as the Sabbath had 
been long regarded as a fast day, those who de- 
sired to be Christians should on that day abstain 
from eating meat. ^ In the eastern division of 
the Catholic church, in the eleventh century, the 
Sabbath was still regarded as a festival, equal in 
sacredness with Sunday. Heylyn contrasts with 
this the action of the western division of that 
church : — 

''But it was otherwise of okHn the church of Rome, 
where they did labor and fast. . . . And this, with little 
opposition or interruption, save that which had been 
made in the city of Rome in the beginning of the seventh 
century, and was soon crushed by Gregory then bishop 
there, as before we noted. And howsoever Urban of 
that name the second, did consecrate it to the weekly 
service of the blessed virgin, and instituted in the coun- 
cil held at Clermont, a. d. 1095, that our lady's office 
should be said upon it, and that upon that day all Chris- 
tian folks should worship her with their best devotion."^ 

It would seem that this was a crowninor indior- 
nity to the Most High. The memorial of the 
great Creator was set apart as a festival on which 
to worship Mary, under tlie title of mother of 
God! In the middle of the twelfth century, the 
king of England was admonished not to suffer 
men to work upon Sunday. Henry II. entered 
on the government about the year 1155. 

' Dialogues, &c. p. HS. 

MJinius, vol. iii. p. 128'), ed. 1006. 

3 Hist. Sab. part li. chap. v. sect. 13. 


" Of him it is rei)orted that he had an apparition 
at Cardiff ( ... in South Wales ) which from St. Peter 
charged him, that upon Sundays throughout his domin- 
ions, there should be no buying or selling, and no servile 
work done.'"^ 

The sacreclness of Sunday was not yet suffi- 
ciently established, because a divine warrant for 
its observance was still unprovided. The man- 
ner in which this urgent necessity was met is 
related by Roger Hoveden, a historian of high 
T-epute who lived at the very time when this 
much-needed precept was furnished by the pope. 
Hoveden informs us that Eustace the abbot of 
Flaye in Normandy, came into England in the 
year 1200, to preach the word of the Lord, and 
that his preaching was attended by many w^on- 
derful miracles. He was very earnest in behalf 
of Sunday. Thus Hoveden says : — 

" At London also, and many other places throughout 
England, he effected by his preaching, that from that 
time forward people did not dare to hold market of things 
exposed for sale on the Lord's Day."^ 

But Hoveden tells us that " the enemy of man- 
kind raised against this man of God the minis- 
ters of iniquity," and it seems that having no 
commandment for Sunday he was in a strait 
place. The historian continues : — 

''However, the said abbot, on being censured by the 
ministers of Satan, was unwilling any longer to molest 
the prelates of England by his preaching, but returned to 
Normandy, unto his place whence he came."^ 

But Eustace, though repulsed, had no thought 
of abandoning the contest. He had no com- 

1 Morer, p. 288 ; Hejl}''!!, part 2. chap. vii. sect. 6. 

2 Roger de Hovedeii's Annals, Bohn's ed. vol. ii. p- 487. 

3ld. lb. 


mandment from the Lord when he came into 
England the first time. But one year's sojourn 
on the continent was sufficient to provide that 
which he lacked. Hoveden tells us how he re- 
turned the following year with the needed pre- 
cept : — 

"In the same year [1201], Eustace, abbot of Flaye, 
returned to England, and preaching therein the word of 
the Lord from city to city, and from place to place, for- 
bade any person to hold a market of goods on sale upon 
the Lord's day. For he said that the commandment 
under-written, as to the observance of the Lord's day, 
had come down from Heaven : — 


' ' Which came from Heaven to Jerusalem, and v/as 
found upon the altar of Saint Simeon, in Golgotha, 
where Christ was crucified for the sins of the world. 
The Lord sent down this epistle, which was found upon 
the altar of Saint Simeon, and after looking upon which, 
three days and three nights, some men fell upon the 
earth, imploring mercy of God. And after the third 
hour, the patriarch arose, and Acharias, the archbishop, 
and they opened the scroll, and received the holy epis- 
tle from God. And when they had taken the same they 
found this writing therein : — 

" ' I am the Lord, who commanded you to observe the 
holy day of the Lord, and ye have not kept it, and have 
not repented of your sins, as I have said in my gospel, 
' ' Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall 
not pass away. " Whereas, I caused to be preached unto 
you repentance and amendment of life, you did not be- 
lieve me, I have sent against you the pagans, who have 
shed your blood on the earth ; and yet you have not be- 
lieved ; and, because you did not keep the Lord's day 
holy, for a few days you snfiered hunger, but soon I gave 
you fullness, and after that you did still worse again. 
Once more, it is my will, that no one, from the ninth 
hour on Saturday until sunrise on Monday, shall do any 
work except that which is good. 

"* And if any person shall do so, he shall with penance 
make amends for the same. And if you do not pay ol)e- 


dience to tliis command, verily, I say unto you, and I 
swear unto you, by my seat and by my throne, and by 
the cherubim who watch my holy seat, that I will give 
you my commands by no other epistle, but I will open 
the heavens, and for rain I will rain upon you stones, 
and wood, and hot water, in the night, that no one may 
take precautions against the same, and that so I may de- 
stroy all wicked men. 

" ' This do I say unto you ; for the Lord's holy day, you 
shall die the death, and for the other festivals of my 
saints which you have not kept : I will send unto you 
beasts that have the heads of lions, the hair of women, 
the tails of camels, and they shall be so ravenous that 
they shall devour your flesh, and you shall long to flee 
away to the tombs of the dead, and to hide yourselves 
for fear of the beasts ; and I will take away the light of 
the sun from before your eyes, and will send darkness 
upon you, that not seeing, you may slay one another, 
and that I may remove from you my face, and may not 
show mercy upon you. For I will burn the bodies and 
the hearts of you, and of all of those who do not keep 
as holy the day of the Lord. 

" ' Hear ye my voice, that so ye may not perish in the 
land, for the holy day of the Lord. Depart from evil, 
and show repentance for your sins. For, if you do not 
do so, even as Sodom and Gomorrah shall you perish. 
Now, know ye, that you are saved by the prayers of my 
most holy mother, Mary, and of my most holy angels, 
who pray for you daily. I have given unto you wheat 
and wine in abundance, and for the same ye have 
not obeyed me. For the widows and orphans cry unto 
you daily, and unto them you show no mercy. The pa- 
gans show mercy, but you show none at all. The trees 
which bear fruit, I will cause to be dried up for your 
sins ; the rivers and the fountains shall not give water. 

" 'I gave unto you a law in Mount Sinai, which you 
have not kept. I gave you a law with mine own hands, 
which you have not observed. For you I was born into 
the world, and my festive day ye knew not. Being 
wicked men, ye have not kept the Lord's day of my res- 
urrection. By my right hand I swear unto you, that if 
you do not observe the Lord's day, and the festivals of 
my saints, I will send unto you the pagan nations, that 
they may slay you. And still do you attend to the busi- 


ness of others, and take no consideration of this? For 
this will I send against you still worse beasts, who shall 
devour the breasts of your women. I will curse those 
who on the Lord's day have wrought evil. 

" ' Those who act unjustly towards their bretlu'en, will 
I curse. Those who judge unrighteously the jjoor and 
the orphans upon the earth, will I curse. For me you 
forsake, and you follow the prince of this world. Give 
heed to my voice, and you shall have the blessing of 
mercy. But you cease not from your bad works, nor 
from the works of the devil. Because you are guilty of 
perjuries and adulteries, therefore the nations shall sur- 
round you, and shall, lilce beasts, devour you.'"^ 

That such a document was actually brought 
into England at this time, and in the manner 
here described, is so amply attested as to leave 
no doubt.^ Matthew Paris, like Hoveden, was 
actually a cotemporary of Eustace. Hoveden 
properly belongs to the twelfth century, for he 
died shortly after the arrival of Eustace with his 
roll. But Matthew Paris belongs to the thir- 
teenth, as he was but young at the time this roll 
(a. d. 1201) was brought into England. Both 
have a high reputation for truthfulness. In 
speaking of the writers of that century, Mosheim 
bears the following testimony to the credibility 
of Matthew Paris : — 

'^ Among the historians, the first place is due to Mat- 
thew Paris, a writer of the hlgliest merit, both in point of 
knowledge and prudence, " " 

1 Hoveden, vol. ii. pp. 526-528. 

2 See Matthew Paris's Historia Major, pp.200, 201, ed. 1640; 
Binius' Councils, ad ann. 1201, vol. i'ii, pp. 1448, 1449 ; Wilkins' 
Concilia Magna) liritanise et Ilibcrnjc, vol. i. pp. 510, 511, Lon- 
don, 17.'37; Sir David Dalrymple's Historical Memorials, pp. 7, 
8, ed. 1769; Heylyn's History of the Sabbath, part ii. chap. vii. 
sect. 5 ; Morer's Lord's Dav, pp. 288-290; He.ssey's Sunday 
pp. 90, 321 ; Gilfillan's Sabbath, p. 399. 

^Maclaine's Mosheim, cent. xiii. part ii. chap, i. sect. 5. 


And Dr. Murdock says of him : — 

'^ He is accounted the best historian of the Middle Ages, 
learned, independent, honest, and judicious."^ 

Matthew Paris relates the return of the abbot 
Eustachius (as he spells the name) from Nor- 
mandy, and gives us a copy of the roll which he 
brought, and an account of its fall from Heaven 
as related by the abbot himself. He also tells us 
how the abbot came by it, tracing the history of 
the roll from the point when the patriarch gath- 
ered courage to take it into his hands, till the 
time when our abbot was commissioned to bring 
it into England. Thus he says : — 

"But when the patriarch and clergy of all the holy 
land had diligently examined the contents of this epistle, 
it was decreed in a general deliberation that the epistle 
should be sent to the judgment of the Roman pontiff, see- 
ing that whatever he decreed to be done, would please all. 
And when at length the epistle had come to the knowledge 
of the lord pope, immediately he ordained heralds, who 
being sent through different parts of the world, preached 
everywhere the doctrine of this epistle, the Lord working 
■\Wth them and confirming their words by signs following. 
Among whom the abbot of Flay, Eustachius by name, a 
devout and learned man, having entered the kingdom of 
England did there shine with many miracles." 

Now we know what the abbot was about dur- 

1 Murdock's Mosheim, cent. xiii. part ii. chap. i. sect. 5, note 19, 
2 Matthew Paris's Historia Major, p. 201. His words are: 
"Cum autem Patriarcha et clems omnis Terra; sanctae, hunc 
epistolfe tenorem diligenter examinassent ; communi omnium 
deliberatione decretum est, ut epistola ad judicium Romani 
Pcntificis transmitteretur ; quatenus, quicquid ipse agendum 
decrevit, placset universis. Cumque tandem epistola ad domini 
Papte notitiam pervenisset, continuo prsedicatores ordinavit; qui 
per diversas mundi partes profecti, pra;dicaverunt ubique epis- 
toliB tenerem; Domino cooperante et sermonem eorum confir- 
mante, sequentibus signis. Inter quos Abbos de Flai nomine 
Eustachius, vir religiosus et literali scientia eruditis, regnum 
Angliae aggresaus : multis ibidem miracuhs corrutcavit." — 
Library o1 Harvard Oollege. 


ing the year that he was absent from England. 
He could not establish first-day sacredness by his 
first mission to England, for he had no divine 
warrant in its behalf. He therefore retired from 
the mission long enough to make known the neces- 
sities of the case to the " lord pope." But wdien 
he came the second time he brought the divine 
mandate for Sunday, and with it the commission 
of the pope, authorizing him to proclaim that 
mandate to the people, and informing them that 
it was sent to His Holiness from Jerusalem by 
those who saw it fall from Heaven. Had Eustace 
framed this document himself, and then forged a 
commission from the pope, a few months would 
have discovered the imposture. But their genuine- 
ness was never questioned as is shown by the pre- 
servation of this roll by the best historians of that 
time. We therefore trace the responsibility for this 
roll directly to the pope of Rome. The statement 
of the pope that he received it from the hands of 
those who saw it fall from Heaven is the guaranty 
given by His Holiness to the people that the roll 
came from God. The historians then living, who 
record this transaction, were able to satisfy them- 
selves that Eustace brought the roll from the 
pope ; and they believed the pope's statement 
that he had received it from Heaven. It was In- 
nocent III. wdio filled the office of pope at this 
time, of whom Bower speaks thus : — 

" Innocent was perfectly well qualified to raise the papal 
power and authority to the highest pitch, and we shall 
see him improving, with great address, every opportunity 
that offered to compass that end."^ 

Another eminent authority makes this state- 
ment : — 

' History of the Popes, \o\. ii. p. 'ir?;'. 


' ' The external circumstances of his time also furthered 
Innocent's views, and enabled him to make his pontificate 
the most marked in the annals of Rome ; the culminat- 
ing point of the temporal as well as the spiritual suprem- 
acy of the Roman See, " ^ 

" His pontificate may be fairly considered to have been 
the period of the highest power of the Roman See. " ^ 

The dense darkness of the Dark Ages still 
covered the earth when that pontiff filled the 
papal throne who raised the papacy to its high- 
est elevation. Two facts worthy of much thought 
should here be named in connection : — 

1. The first act of papal usurpation was by an 
edict in behalf of Sunday.^ 

2. The utmost hight of papal usurpation was 
marked by the pope's act of furnishing a divine 
precept for Sunday observance. 

The mission of Eustace was attested by mir- 
acles which are worthy of perusal by those who 
believe in first-day sacredness because their fa- 
thers thus believed. Here they may learn what 
was done six centuries since, to fix these ideas in 
the minds of their fathers. Eustace came to 
York, in the north of Eno^land, and, meetinof an 
honorable reception, 

' ' Preached the word of the Lord, and on the breaking 
of the Lord's day and the other festivals, and imposed 
upon the people penance and gave absolution, upon con- 
dition that in future they would pay due reverence to 
the Lord's day and the other festivals of the saints, doing 
therein no servile work. " * 

" Upon this, the people who were dutiful to God at his 
preaching, vowed before God that, for the future, on the 

> M'Clintock and Strong's Cyclopedia, vol. iv. p. 590. 

2 Id. vol. iv. p. 592. s See page 274 of this work. 

* Hoveden, vol. ii. p. 528. 


Lord's day, they would neither buy nor sell any thing, 
unless, perchance, victuals and drink to wayfarers."^ 

The abbot also made provision for the collec- 
tion of alms for the benefit of the poor, and for- 
bade the use of tlie churches for the sale of goods, 
and for the pleading of causes. Upon this, the 
king interfered as follows : — 

'■ ' Accordingly, through these and other warnings of 
this holy man, the enemy of mankind being rendered en- 
vious, he put it into the heart of the king and of the 
princes of darkness to command that all who should ob- 
serve the before stated doctrines, and more especially all 
those who had discountenanced the markets on the Lord's 
day, should be brought before the king's court of justice, 
to make satisfaction as to the observance of the Lord's 

The markets on the Lord's day, it seems, were 
held in the churches, and Eustace was attempt- 
ing to supress these when he forbade the sale of 
goods in the churches. And now to confirm the au- 
thority of the roll, and to neutralize the opposi- 
tion of the king, some very extraordinary prodigies 
were reported. The roll forbade labor " from the 
ninth hour (that is 3 P. M.) on Saturday until 
sunrise on Monday." Now read what happened 
to the disobedient : — 

"One Saturday, a certain carpenter of Beverly, who, alt- 
er the ninth hour of the day was, contrary to the wholesome 
advice of his wife, making a wooden wedge, fell to the 
earth, being struck with paralysis. A woman also, a 
weaver, who, after the ninth hour, on Saturday, in her 
anxiety to finish a part of the web, persisted in so doing, 
fell to the ground, struck with paralysis, and lost her 
voice. At Rafi'erton also, a vill belonging to Master 
Roger Arundel, a man made for himself a loaf and baked 
it under the ashes, after the ninth hour on Saturday, and 
ate thereof, and put part of it by till the morning, but when 

' Iloveden, vol. ii. p. ."vjs. 2 jji. p. -,2ft. 


he broke it on the Lord's day blood started forth there- 
from ; and he who saw it bore witness, and his testimony- 
is true. 

"At Wakefield, also, one Saturday, while a miller was, 
after the ninth hour, attending to grinding his corn, there 
suddenly came forth, instead of flour, such a torrent of 
blood, that the vessel placed beneath was nearly filled 
with blood, and the mill-wheel stood immovable, in spite 
of the strong rush of the water ; and those who beheld 
it wondered thereat, saying, ' Spare us, O Lord, spare 
thy people!' 

"Also, in Lincolnshire a woman had prepared some 
dough, and taking it to the oven after the ninth hour on 
Saturday, she placed it in the oven, which was then at a 
very great heat ; but when she took it out, she found it 
raw, on which she again put it into the oven, which was 
very hot ; and, both on the next day, and on Monda^^, 
when she supposed that she should find the loaves baked, 
she found raw dough. 

" In the same county also, when a certain woman had 
prepared her dough, intending to carry it to the oven, her 
husband said to her, 'It is Saturday, and it is now past 
the ninth hour, put it one side till Monday;' on which 
the woman, obeying her husband, did as he commanded; 
and so, having covered over the dough with a linen cloth, 
on coming the next day to look at the dough, to see 
whether it had not, in rising, through the yeast that was 
in it, gone over the sides of the vessel, she found there 
the loaves ready made by the divine will, and well baked, 
without any fire of the material of this world. This was 
a change wrought by the right hand of Him on high." ^ 

The historian laments that these miracles were 
lost upon the people, and that they feared the 
king more than they feared God, and so " like a 
doof to his vomit, returned to the holdinor of 
markets on the Lord's day." ^ Such was the first 
attempt in England after the apparition of St. 
Peter, A. D. 1155, to supply divine authority for 
Sunday observance. " It shows," as Morer quaint- 

1 Hoveden, vol. ii. pp. '^2'.\ 530. •- Id. lb. 

Sabbath History. 'riH 


ly observes, " how industrious men were in those 
times to have this great day solemnly observed."^ 
And Gilfillan, who has occasion to mention the 
story of the roll from Heaven, has not one word 
of condemnation for the pious fraud in behalf of 
Sunday, but he simply speaks of our abbot as 
" This ardent person." ^ 

Two years after the arrival of Eustace in Eng- 
land with his roll, A. D. 1203, a council was held 
in Scotland concerning the introduction and 
establishment of the Lord's day in that kingdom.^ 
The roll that had fallen from Heaven to supply 
the lack of scriptural testimony in behalf of this 
d^'', was admirably adapted to the business of 
this council, though Dr. Heylyn informs us that 
the Scotch were so ready to comply with the 
pope's wishes that tlie packet from the court of 
Heaven and the accompanying miracles were not 
needed.^ Yet Morer asserts that the packet was 
actually produced on this occasion : — 

" To that end it was again produced and read in a 
council of Scotland, held under [pope] Innocent III, . . . 
A. D. 1203, in the reign of King William, who . . . passed 
it into a law that Saturday from twelve at noon ought to 
be accounted holy, and that no man shall deal in such 
worldly business as on feast days Avere forbidden. As 
also that at the tolling of a bell, the people were to be 
employed in holy actions, going to sermons and the like, 
and to continue thus until Monday morning, a penalty 
being laid on those who did the contrary. About the 
year 1214, which was eleven years after, it was again en- 
acted, in a parliament at Scone, by Alexander III., king 
of the Scots, that none should fish in any waters, from 

1 Dialogues, &c. p. 200. a Gilfillan's Sabbath, p. 399. 

^Binius's Coinicils, vol. iii. pp. 1448, 1449; Heyljn, part ii. 
chap. vii. sect. 7. 

* Ileylyn, partii. chap. vii. sect. 7. 



Saturday after evening prayer, till sunrising on Monday, 
which was afterward confirmed by King James 1/ 

The sacredness of this papal Lord's day seems 
to have been more easily established by taking 
in with it a part of the ancient Sabbath. The 
work of establishing this institution was every- 
where carried steadily forward. Of England we 
read : — 

" In the year 1237, Henry III. being king, and Edmund 
de Abendon archbishop of Canterbury, a constitution 
was made, requiring every minister to forbid his parish- 
ioners the frequenting of markets on the Lord's day, and 
leaving the church, where they ought to meet and spend 
the day in prayer and hearing the word of God. And 
this on pain of excommunication."^ 

Of France we are informed : — 

" The council of Lyons sat about the year 1244, and it 
restrained the people from their ordinary work on the 
Lord's day, and other festivals on pain of ecclesiastical 

A. D. 1282. The council of Angeirs in France ' ' for- 
bid millers by water or otherwise to grind their corn from 
Saturday evening till Sunday evening." ^ 

Nor were the Spa];iiards backward in this 
w^ork : — 

A. D. 1322. This year ' ' a synod was called at Valla- 
dolid in Castile, and then was ratified what was formerly 
required, that ' none should follow husbandry, or exer- 
cise himself in any mechanical employment on the Lord's 
day, or other holy days, but where it was a work of ne- 
cessity or charity, of which the minister of the i)arish 
was to be judge.' "* 

The rulers of the church and realm of England 
were diligent in establishing the sacredness of 
this day. Yet the following statutes show that 

1 Dialogues, &c. pp. 290, 291. ^Id. p. 291. 

3 Id. p. 27r>. * Id. lb. 


they were not aware of any Bible authority for 
enforcing its observance : — 

A. D, 1358. " Istippe, archbishop of Canterbury, with 
very great concern and zeal, expresses himself thus : ' We 
have it from the relation of very credible persons, that in 
divers places within our province, a very naughty, nay, 
damnable custom has prevailed, to hold fairs and markets 
on the Lord's day. . . . Wherefore by virtue of ca- 
nonical obedience, we strictly charge and command yoiu' 
brotherhood, that if you find your people faulty in the 
premises, you forthwith admonish or cause them to be 
admonished to refrain going to markets or fairs on the 
Lord's day. . . . And as for such who are obstinate 
and speak or act against you in this particular, you must 
endeavor to restrain them by ecclesiastical censures and 
by all lawful means put a stop to these extravagances.' 

' ' Nor was the civil power silent ; for much about that 
time King Edward made an act that wool should not be 
shown at the staple on Sundays and other solemn feasts 
in the year. Li the reign of King Henry VI. , Dr. Staf- 
ford being archbishop of Canterbury, a. d. 1444, it was 
decreed that fairs and markets should no more be kept 
in churches and church-yards on the Lord's day, or other 
festivals, except in time of harvest,"^ 

Observe that fairs and markets were held in 
the churches in England on Sundays as late as 
1444 ! And even later than this such fairs were 
allowed in harvest time. On the European con- 
tinent the sacredness of Sunday was persistently 
urged. The council of Bourges urges its observ- 
ance as follows : — 

A. D. 1532. " The Lord's day and other festivals 
Avere instituted for this purpose, that faithful Christians 
abstaining from external work, might more freely, and 
with greater piety devote themselves to God's worship." ' 

They did not seem to be aware of the fact 
however that when the fear of God is taught by 

' Id. pp. 2\K), 2',ii. -'Id. p. 27'.'. 


the precepts of men such worship is vain.^ The 
council of Rheims, which sat the next 3^ear, made 
this decree : — 

A, D. 1533. '^ Let the people assemble at tlieir parish 
churches on the Lord's day, and other holidays, and be 
present at mass, sermons and vespers. Let no man on 
these days give himself to plays or dances, especially 
during service." And the historian adds : " Li the same 
year another synod at Tours, ordered the Lord's day and 
other holidays to be reverently observed under pain of 

excommunication." ^ 


A council which assembled the following year 
thus frankly confessed the divine origin of the 
Sabbath, and the human origin of that festival 
which has supplanted it : — 

A. D. 1584. " Let all Christians remember that the 
seventh day was consecrated by God, and hath been receiv- 
ed and observed, not only by the Jews, but by all others 
who pretend to worship God ; though we Christians have 
changed their Sabbath into the Lord's day. A day there- 
fore to be kept, by forbearing all worldly business, suits, 
contracts, carriages, &c., and by sanctifying the rest of 
mind and body, in the contemplation of God and things 
divine, we are to do nothing but works of charity, say 
prayers, and sing psalms. " ^ 

We have thus traced Sunday observance in the 
Catholic church down to a period subsequent to 
the Reformation. That it is an ordinance of man 
which has usurped the place of the Bible Sabbath 
is most distinctly confessed by the council last 
quoted. Yet they endeavor to make amends for 
their violation of the Sabbath by spending Sun- 
day in charity, prayers, and psalms : a course too 
often adopted at the present time to excuse the 
violation of the fourth commandment. Who can 

1 Isa. 29 : 13 ; Matt. 15 ; 9. sMorer, p. 280. 

3 Id. pp. 281, 282. 


read this long list of Sanday laws, not from the 
" one La\Y-giver who is able to save and to de- 
stroy," but from popes, emperors, and councils, 
without adopting the sentiment of Neander: 
" The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, 
was always only a human ordinance ?" 



The Dark Ages defined — Difficulty of tracing the people of 
God during this period--The Sabbath effectually suppressed 
in the Catholic church at the close of the fifth century — 
Sabbath-keepers in Rome about a. d. 600 — The Culdees of 
Great Britain — Columba probably a Sabbath-keeper — The 
Waldenses — Their antiquity — Their wide extent — Their 
peculiarities— Sabbatarian character of a part of this peo- 
ple — Important facts respecting the Waldenses and the 
Romanists — Other bodies of Sabbatarians — The Cathari — 
The Arnoldistre — The Passaginians — The Petrobruysians 
— Gregory VII. about a. d, 1074 condemns the Sabbath- 
keepers — The Sabbath in Constantinople in the eleventh 
century — A portion of the Anabaptists — Sabbatarians in 
Abyssinia and Ethiopia — The Armenians of the East In- 
dies — The Sabbath retained through the Dark Ages by 
those who were not in the communion of the Romish church. 

With the accession of the Roman bishop to su- 
premacy began the Dark Ages ;^ and as he increased 
in strength, tlie gloom of darkness settled with 
increasing intensity upon the world. TJie high- 
est elevation of the papal power marks the latest 
point in the Dark Ages before the first gray dawn 

J Mr. Croly says : "With the title of 'Universal Bishop/ the 
power of the papacy, and the Dark Ages, alike began." — Croiy on 
the Aj'OcaO/psr, p. 17m. 


of twilight.^ That power was providentially 
weakened prepara^tory to the reformation of the 
sixteenth century, when the light of advancing 
day began to manifestly dissipate the gross dark- 
ness which covered the earth. The difficulty of 
tracing the true peojjle of God through this pe- 
riod is well set forth in the following language 
of Benedict : — 

'•'As scarcely any fragment of their history remains, 
all we know of them is from accounts of their enemies, 
which were always littered in the style of censure and 
complaint ; and without which we should not have 
known that millions of them ever existed. It was the 
settled policy of Rome to obliterate every vestige of op- 
position to her doctrines and decrees ; everything her- 
etical, whether persons or writings, by which the faithful 
would be liable to be contaminated and led astray. In 
conformity to this their fixed determination, all books 
and records of their opposers were hunted up and com- 
mitted to the flames. Before the art of printing was dis- 
covered in the fifteenth century, all books were made 
with the pen ; the copies, of course, were so few that 
their concealment was much more difficult than it would 
be now ; and if a few of them escaped the vigilance of 
the inquisitors, they would soon be worn out and gone. 
None of them could be admitted and preserved in the 
public libraries of tlie Catholics, from the ravages of time 
and of the hands of barbarians with which all parts of 
Europe were at difi'erent periods overwhelmed."" 

The first five centuries of the Christian era ac- 
complished the suppression of the Sabbath in 
those churches which were under the special con- 
trol of the Eoman pontiff: Thenceforward we 
must look for the observers of the Sabbath out- 
side the communion of the church of Rome. It 
was predicted that the Koman power should cast 

iM'Clintock and Strong's Cyclopedia, vol. iv. p. 501. 
2 History of the Baptist Denomination, p. 50, ed. 1849. 


down the truth to the ground.^ The Scriptures 
set forth the law of God as his truth.^ The Dark 
Ages were the result of this work of the great 
apostasy. So dense and all-pervading was the 
darkness, that God's pure truth was more or less 
obscured even with the true people of God in 
their places of retirement. 

About the year 600, as we have seen, there 
was in the city of Rome itself a class of Sabbath- 
keeping Christians who were very strict in the 
observance of the fourth commandment. It has 
been said of them that they joined with this 
a strict abstinence from labor on Sunday. But 
Dr. Twisse, a learned first-day writer who has 
particularly examined the record respecting them, 
asserts that this Sunday observance pertained to 
"other persons, different from the former." ^ These 
Sabbath-keepers were not Romanists, and the 
pope denounced them in strong language. 

The Christians of Great Britain, before the 
mission of Augustine to that country, A. D. 596, 
were not in subjection to the bishop of Rome. 
They were in an eminent degree Bible Christians. 
They are thus described : — 

''The Scottish church, when it first meets the eye of 
civilization, is not Romish, nor even prelatical. AVhen 
the monk Augustine, with his forty missionaries, in the 
time of the Saxon Heptarchy, came over to Britain under 
the auspices of Gregory, the bishop of Rome, to convert 
the barbarian Saxons, he found the northern part of the 
island already well-nigh filled with Christians and Chris- 
tian institutions. These Christians were the Culdees, 
whose chief seat was the little island of Hi or lona, on 
the western coast of Scotland. An Irish presbyter, Co- 
lumba, feeling himself stirred with missionary zeal, and 

' Dan. 8 : 12. aPs. 110 : U2, 151. 

3 See chap. xx. of this work. 


doubtless knowing the wretched condition of the savage 
Scots and Picts, in the year 565, took with him tw^elve 
other missionaries, and passed over to Scotland. They 
fixed their settlement on the little island just named, and 
from that point became the missionaries of all Scotland, 
and even penetrated into England/ 

"The people in the south of England converted by 
Augustine and his assistants, and those in the north who 
had been won by Culdee labor, soon met, as Christian 
conquest advanced from both sides ; and when they came 
together, it was soon seen that Roman and Culdee Chris- 
tianity very decidedly differed in a great many respects. 
The Culdees, for the most part, had a simple and primi- 
tive form of Christianity, while Rome presented a vast 
accumulation of superstitions, and was arrayed in her 
well-known pomp." 

"The Culdee went to lona that in quiet, with medita- 
tion, study, and prayer, he might fit himself for going 
out into the world as a missionary. Indeed, lona was a 
great mission institute, where preachers were trained who 
evangelized the rude tribes of Scotland in a very short 
time. To have done such a work as this in less than 
half a century implies apostolic activity, purity, and suc- 

"After the success of Agustine and his monks in Eng- 
land, the Culdees had shut themselves uj) within the 
limits of Scotland, and had resisted for centuries all the ef- 
forts of Rome to win them over. At last, however, they 
were overthrown by their own rulers."* 

There is strong incidental evidence that Co- 
lumba, the leading minister of his time among 
the Culdees, was an observer of the ancient Sab- 
bath of the Bible. On this point I quote two 
standard authors of the Roman Catholics. They 
certainly have no motive to put such words as I 
here quote, fradulently into the mouth of Columba, 

JM'Clintock and Strong's Cyclopedia, vol. ii. pp. 600, 601 
D'Aubigne's History of the Reformation, book xvii. 
2M*Chntock and Strong's Cyclopedia, vol. ii. p. 601. 
3 Id. lb. "Id. lb. 


for they claim him as a saint, and they are no 
friends of the Bible Sabbath. Nor can we see 
how Columba could have used these words with 
satisfaction, as he evidently did, when dying, 
had he all his life long been a violator of the an- 
cient rest-day of the Lord. Here are the words 
of Dr. Alvan Butler : — 

" Having continued his labors in Scotland thirty-four 
years, he clearly and openly foretold his death, and on 
Saturday the ninth of June said to his disciple Diermit : 
' This day is called the Sabbath, that is, the day of rest, 
and such will it truly be to me ; for it will put an end to 
my labors.'"^ 

Another distinofuished Catholic author chives 
us his dying words thus : — 

' ' To-day is Saturday, the day which the Holy Script- 
lu-es call the Sabbath, or rest. And it will be truly my 
day of rest, for it shall be the last of my laborious life."" 

These words show, 1. That Columba believed 
that Saturday was the true Bible Sabbath. 2. 
That he did not believe the Sabbath had been 
changed to Sunday. 3. That this confession of 
faith respecting the Bible Sabbath was made 
with evident satisfaction, though in view of im- 
mediate death. J3id any first-day man ever re- 
cur with pleasure on his death-bed to the fact 
that Saturday is the Bible Sabbath ? 

But Gilfillan quotes these words of Columba 
as spoken in behalf of Sunday ! In giving a list 
of eminent men who have asserted the change of 
the Sabbath, or who have called Sunday the Sab- 
bath, and have tauorht that it should be observed 

> l>iitler's liivos of the Fathers, Martyrs, and principal Saints, 
article, St. Cohiinba, a. d. iir*?. 
2 The Monks of the West, vol. ii. p. 1<U. 


as a day of sacred rest, be brings "in Columba 
thus : — 

"The testimony of Columba is specially interesting, 
as it expresses the feelings of the heart at a moment 
Avhich tests the sincerity of faith, and the value of a creed : 
* This day, ' he said to his servant, ' in the sacred volume 
is called the Sabbath, that is, rest ; and will indeed be a 
Sabbath to me, for it is to me the last day of this toil- 
some life, the day on which I am to rest (sabbatize), after 
all my labors and troubles, for on this coming sacred 
night of the Lord {Dominica node), at the midnight hour, 
I shall, as the Scriptures speak, go the way of my fa- 
thers.' "^ 

But this day wliicli Columba said " will indeed 
be a Sabbath to me " was not Sunday but Sat- 

Among the dissenters from the Romish church 
in the period of the Dark Ages, the first place 
perhaps is due to the Waldenses, both for their 
antiquity and the wide extent of their influence 
and doctrine. Benedict quotes from their ene- 
mies respecting the antiquity of their origin : — 

"We have already observed from Claudius Seyssel, the 
popish archbishop, that one Leo was charged with origin- 
ating the Waldensian heresy in the valleys, in the days 
of Constantino the Great. When those severe measures 
emanated from the Emperor Honorious against re-bap- 
tizers, the Baptists left the seat of opulence and power, 
and sought retreats in the country, and in the valleys of 
Piedmont ; which last place in particular became their 
retreat from imperial oppression." ^ 

Dean Waddington quotes the following from 
Rainer Saccho, a popish writer, who had the best 
means of information respecting them : — 

"There is no sect so dangerous as the Leonists, for 
three reasons : first, it is . the most ancient — some say as 
old as Sylvester [pope in Constantine's time], others as 

1 Gilfillau's Sabbath, p. S81>. 2 Id. pp. 32, 80. 


the apostles themselves. Secondly, it is very generally 
disseminated : there is no country where it has not gained 
some footing. Thirdly, while other sects are profane and 
blasphemous, this retains the utmost show of piety ; they 
live justly before men, and believe nothing respecting 
God which is not good."^ 

Mr. Jones gives Sacclio's own opinion as fol- 
lows : — 

" Their enemies confirm their great antiquity. Rein- 
erius Saccho, an inquisitor, and one of their most cruel 
persecutors, who lived only eighty years after Waldo [a. 
D. IIGO], admits that the Waldenses flourished five hun- 
dred years before that preacher. Gretser, the Jesuit, 
who also wrote against the Waldenses, and had examined 
the subject fully, not only admits their great antiquity, 
but declares his firm belief that the Toulousians and Al- 
bigenses condemned in the years 1177 and 1178, were no 
other than the Waldenses. "- 

Jortin dates their withdrawal into the wilder- 
ness of the Alps as follows : — 

' ' A. D. 601. In the seventh century, Christianity was 
propagated in China by the Nestorians ; and the Valden- 
ses, who abhorred the papal usurptions, are supposed to 
have settled themselves in the valleys of Piedmont. 
Monkery flourished prodigiously, and the monks and 
popes were in the firmest union,"" 

President Edwards says : — 

** Some of the popish writers themselves own, that this 
l^eople never submitted to the church of Rome. One of 
the popish writers, speaking of the Waldenses, says. The 
lieresy of the Waldenses is the oldest heresy in the world. 
It is supposed that they first betook themselves to this 
place among the mountains, to hide themselves from the 
severity of the heathen persecutions which existed before 
Constantine the Great. And thus the woman fled into 
the wilderness from the face of the serpent. Rev. 12 : G, 

1 Waddinffton's History of the Church, part iv. chap, xviii. 
■■'Jones's llistorv of the Church, vol. ii. chap. v. sect. 1. 
^.Jortin's Keel. /list. vol. ii. sect. 38. 


14. ' And to the woman were given two wings of a great 
eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her 
place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and 
half a time, from the face of the serpent. ' The people 
being settled there, their posterity continued [there] from 
age to age ; and being, as it were, by natural walls, as 
well as by God's grace, separated from the rest of the 
world, they never partook of the overflowing corruption."^ 

Benedict makes other quotations relative to 
their origin : — 

''Theodore Belvedre, a popish monk, says that the 
heresy had always been in the valleys. In the preface to 
the French Bible the translators say that they [the Wal- 
denses] have always had the full enjoyment of the heav- 
enly truth contained in the Holy Scriptures ever since 
they were enriched with the same by the apostles ; having 
in fair MSS. preserved the entire Bible in their native 
tongue from generation to generation. "- 

Of the extent to which they spread in the 
countries of Europe, Benedict thus speaks : — 

" In the thirteenth century, from the accounts of Cath- 
olic historians, all of whom speak of the Waldenses in 
terms of complaint and reproach, they had founded indi- 
vidual churches, or were spread out in colonies in Italy, 
Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Bohemia, Poland, 
Lithuania, Albania, Lombardy, Milan, Romagna, Vi- 
cenza, Florence, Yeleponetine, Constantinople, Philadel- 
phia, Sclavonia, Bulgaria, Diognitia, Livonia, Sarmatia, 
Croatia, Dalmatia, Briton and Piedmont."^ 

And Dr. Edgar gives the words of an old his- 
torian as follows : — 

"The Waldensians, says Popliner, spread, not only 
through France, but also through nearly all the European 
coasts, and appeared in Gaul, Spain, England, Scotland, 
Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Saxony, Poland, and Lithua- 

1 Edward's Hist, of Redemption, period iii. part iv. sect. 2. 

2 Hist. Bapt. Denom. p. 33. ^ if], p^ 31. 

< Variations ofPoperv, p. 52. 


According to the testimony of their enemies, 
they were to some extent divided among them- 
selves. Dr. Allix quotes an old Romish writer 
who says of that portion of them who were called 
Cathari : — 

" They are also divided amongst themselves; so v.'hat 
some of them say is again denied by others."^ 

And Crosby makes a similar statement : — 

'' There were several sects of Waldenses or Albigehses, 
like as there are of Dissenters in England. Some of 
these did deny all baptism, others only the baptism of 
infants. That many of them were of this latter opinion, 
is affirmed in several histories of this people, as well an- 
cient as modern. " '^ 

Some of their enemies affirm that they reject 
the Old Testament ; but others, with much greater 
truthfulness, bear a very different testimony.^ 
Thus a Romish inquisitor, as quoted by Allix, 
bears testimony concerning those in Bohemia : — 

* ' They can say a great part of the Old and New Testa- 
ments by heart. They despise the decretals, and the say- 
ings and expositions of holy men, and only cleave to the 
text of Scripture. . . . [They say] that the doctrine 
of Christ and the apostles is sufficient to salvation, with- 
out any church statutes and ordinances. That the tradi- 
tions of the church are no better than the traditions 
of the Pharisees ; and that greater stress is laid on 

' Eccl. Hist, of the Ancient Churches of Piedmont, p. 1G7. 

2 History of the English Baptists, a'oI. i. pref. p. 35. 

3 Mr. Jones, in his *' Church Histor}'," vol. i. chap, iii., note at 
tlie end of tlie chapter, explains this charge as follows : "But 
this calumny is easily accounted for. The advocates of popery, 
to support their usurpations and innovations in the kingdom of 
Christ, were driven to the Old Testament for authority, adducing 
the kingdom of David for their example. And when their adver- 
saries rebutted the argument, insisting that the parallel did not 
hold, for that the kingdom of Christ, which is not of this world, 
is a very dillerent state of things from the kingdom of David, 
their opponents accused them of giving up the divine authority of 
the Old Testament." 


the observation of human traditions than on the keeping 
of the lav/ of God. Why do 3'ou transgress the law of 
God by your traditions? . . . They contemn all ap- 
proved ecclesiastical customs which they do not read of in 
the gospel, as the observation of Candlemas, Palm Sun- 
day, the reconciliation of penitents, the adoration of the 
cross on Good Friday. They despise the feast of Easter, 
and all other festivals of Christ and the saints, because 
of their being multiplied to that vast number, and say 
that one day is as good as another, and work upon holy 
days, where they can do it without being taken notice 

Dr. AUix quotes a Waldensian document of 
A. D. 1100, entitled the ''Noble Lesson/' and re- 
marks : — 

' ' The author upon supposal that the world was draw- 
ing to an end, exhorts his brethren to prayer, to watch- 
fulness, to a renouncing of all worldly goods. * * -J^- 

''He sets down all the judgments of God in the Old 
Testament as the effects of a just and good God ; and in 
particular the decalogue as a law given by the Lord of 
the whole world. He repeats the several articles of the 
law, not forgetting that which respects idols. "^ 

Their religious views are further stated by 
Allix :— 

' ' They declare themselves to be the apostles' success- 
ors, to have apostolical authority, and the keys of binding 
and loosing. They hold the church of Rome to be the 
whore of Babylon, and that all that obey her are damred, 
especially the clergy that are subject to her since the time 
of Pope Sylvester. . . . They liold that none of the 
ordinances of the church that have been introduced since 
Christ's ascension ought to be observed, as being of no 
worth ; the feasts, fasts, orders, blessings, offices of the 
church and the like, they utterly reject."^ 

A considerable part of the people called Wal- 
denses bore the significant designation of Sab- 

» Eccl. Hist. Ancient Churches of Piedmont, pp. 231, 236, 237. 
2 Id. pp. 175-177. -^ Id. p. 209. 


bati, or Sahbatati, or Insabbatati Mr. Jones 
alludes to this fact in the following words : — 

''Because they would not observe saints' days, they 
■were falsely supposed to neglect the Sabbath also, and 
called I)isabbatati or lasahbathists."^ 

Mr. Benedict makes the following statement : — 

' ' We find that the Waldenses were sometimes called In- 
sabbathos, that is, regardless of Sabbaths. Mr. Milner sup- 
poses this name was given to them because they observed 
not the Romish festivals, and rested from their ordinary 
occupations only on Sundays. A Sabbatarian would 
suppose that it was because they met for w^orship on the 
seventh day, and did regard not the first-day Sabbath."- 

Mr. Robinson gives the statements of three 
classes of writers respecting the meaning of these 
names, which were borne by the Waldenses. But 
he rejects them all, alleging that these persons 
were led to these conclusions by the apparent 
meaning of the words, and not by the facts. 
Here are his words : — 

" Some of these Christians were called Sabbnti, Sabba- 
tati, Insabbatati, and more frequently Tnzabbatati . Led 
astray by sound without attending to facts, one says they 
were so named from the Hebrew word Sabbath, because 
they kept the Saturday for the Lord's day. Another 
says they were so called because they rejected all the fes- 
tivals or Sabbaths in the low Latin sense of the word, 
which the Catholic church religiously observed. A third 
says, and many with various alterations and additions 
have said after him, they were called so from sabot or za- 
bof, a shoe, because they distinguished themselves from 
other people by wearing shoes marked on the upper part 
with some peculiarity. Is it likely that people who could 
not descend from their mountains without hazarding their 
lives through the furious zeal of the inquisitors, should 
tempt danger by affixing a visible mark on their shoes ? 
]5esides the shoe of the peasants happens to be famous in 

' Hist. Church, chap. v. sect. 1. 

^KJcn. Hist. ];ai)t. Dcnoin. vol. ii, p. 113, ed. ISi; 


this country ; it was of a different fashion, and was called 

Mr. Robinson rejects these three statements, 
and then gives his own judgment that they were 
so called because they lived in the mountains. 
These four views cover all that has been ad- 
vanced relative to the meaning of these names. 
But Robinson's own explanation is purely fanci- 
ful, and seems to have been adopted by no other 
writer. He offers, however, conclusive reasons 
for rejecting the statement that they took their 
name from their shoes. There remain, therefore, 
only the first and second of these four state- 
ments, which are that they were called by these 
names because they kept the Saturday for the 
Lord's day, and because they did not keep the 
sabbaths of the papists. These two statements 
do not conflict. In fact, if one of them be true, 
it almost certainly follows that the other one 
must be true also. There would be in such facts 
something vv^orthy to give a distinguishing name 
to the true people of God, surrounded by the 
great apostasy ; and the natural and obvious in- 
terpretation of the names would disclose the 
most striking characteristic of the people who 
bore them. 

Jones and Benedict agree with Robinson in 
rejecting the idea that the Waldenses received 
these names from their shoes. Mr. Jones held, on 
the contrary, that they were given them because 
they did not keep the Romish festivals.^ Mj:. 
Benedict favors the view that it was because 

1 Ecclesiastical Researches, chap. x. pp. 303, 30-i. 
^Jones's Hist. Church, vol. ii. chap. v. sect. 1. 

Sabbath History. a<7 


they kept the seventh day.^ But let us now see 
who they are that make these statements respect- 
hig the observance of the Sabbath by the Wal- 
denses, that Robinson alludes to in this place. 
He quotes out of Gretser the words of the his- 
torian Goldastus as follows : — 

*' Insabbatati [they were called] not because they were 
circumcised, but because they kept the Jewish Sabbath. "- 

Goldastus was " a learned historian and jurist, 
born near Bischofszell in Switzerland in 1576." 
He died in 1635.^ He was a Calvinist writer of 
note.^ He certainly had no motive to favor the 
cause of the seventh day. Gretser objects to his 
statement on the ground that the Waldenses ex- 
terminated every festival ; but this was the most 
natural thing in the world for men who had God's 
own rest-day in their keeping. Gretser still fur- 
ther objects that the Waldenses denied the whole 
Old Testament ; but this charge is an utter mis- 
representation, as we have already shown in the 
present chapter. 

Robinson also quotes on this point the testi- 
mony of Archbishop Usher. Though that prel- 
ate held that the Waldenses derived these 
names from their shoes, he frankly acknowledges 
that MANY understood that they were given to 
them because they worshiped on the Jewish 
Sabbath. This testimony is valuable in that it 
shows that many early writers asserted the ob- 

1 General Hist. Baptist Denom. vol. ii. p. 413. 

2 Circumcisi forsan illi fuerint, qui aliis Insabbatati, non quod 
circumciderentur, inquit Calvinista [Goldastus] sed quod in Sab- 
bato judaizarent. — Eccl. Researches, chap. x. p. 303. 

3 Thomas' Dictionary of Biography and Mythology, article 

■• D'Aubigne's Reformation in the time of Calvin, vol. iii. p. 450. 


servance of " the Saturday for the Lord's day " 
by the people Avho were called Sabbatati.^ 

In consequence of the persecutions which 
they suffered, and because also of their own mis- 
sionary zeal, the people called Waldenses were 
widely scattered over Europe. They bore, how- 
ever, various names in different ages and in dif- 
ferent countries. We have decisive testimony 
that some of these bodies observed the seventh 
day. Others observed Sunday. Eneas Sylvius 
says that those in Bohemia hold " that we are to 
cease from working on no day except the Lord's 
day." ^ This statement, let it be observed, relates 
only to Bohemia. But it has been asserted that 
the Waldenses were so distinct from the church 
of Rome they could not have received the Sun- 
day Lord's day from thence, and must, therefore, 
have received it from the apostles ! But a few 
words from D'Aubigne will suffice to show that 
this statement is founded in error. He describes 
an interview between CEcolampadius and two 
Waldensian pastors who had been sent by their 
brethren from the borders of France and Pied- 
mont, to open communication with the reform- 
ers. It w^as at Basle, in 1530. Many things 
which they said pleased CEcolampadius, but some 
things he disapproved. D'Aubigne makes this 
statement : — 

" The barbes [the Waldensian pastors] were at first a 
little confused at seeing that the elders had to learn of 
their juniors ; however, they v/ere hiunble and sincere 
men, and the Basle doctor having questioned them on 
the sacraments, they confessed that through weakness 

1 Nee quod in Sabbato colendo Judaizarent, lit multi ptjtabant, 
sed a zapata. — Eccl. Researches, chap. x. p. 304; Usher^s De 
Christlanar. Eccl. success, et stat. cap. 7. 

2.Tones's Church History, vol. ii. chap. v. sect. 2. 


and fear they Imd their children baptized by Bomish priests, 
and that tlicy even communicated with them and sometimes 
attended mass. This unexpected avowal startled the meek 
CEcolampadiiis." * 

When the deputation returned word to the 
Waldenses that the reformers demanded of them 
" a stricter reform/' D'Aubign^ says that it was 
" supported by some, and rej ected by others." He 
also informs us that the demand that the Wal- 
denses should "separate entirely from Rome" 
" caused divisions among them." ^ 

This is a very remarkable statement. The 
light of many of these ancient witnesses was al- 
most ready to go out in darkness when God 
raised up tlie reformers. They had suffered that 
woman Jezebel to teach among them, and to se- 
duce the servants of God. They had even come 
to practice infant baptism, and the priests of 
Rome administered the rite ! And in addition 
to all this, they sometimes joined with them in 
the service of the mass ! If a portion of the 
Waldenses in southern Europe at the time of 
the Reformation had exchanged believers' bap- 
tism for the baptism of children by Romish 
priests, it is not difficult to see how they could 
also accept the Sunday-Lord's day from the same 
source in place of the hallowed rest-day of the 
Lord. All had not done this, but some cei-tainly 

D'Aubigne makes a very interesting statement 
respecting the French Waldenses in the fifteenth 
century. His language implies that they had a 
different Sabbath from the Catholics. He tells 
us some of the stories which the priests circu- 

' Reformation in the time of Calvin, vol. iii. p. 24!>. 
■\<\. pp. 2.=in, 2.-.I. 


lated against the Waldenses. These are liis 
words : — 

" Picardy in the north and Daiiphiny in the south were 
the two provinces of France best prepared [at the open- 
ing of the Protestant Reformation] to receive the gospel. 
During the fifteenth century many Picardins, as the story- 
ran, went to Vaudery. Seated round the fire during the 
long nights, simple Cathohcs used to tell one another 
how the Vaiidois (Waldenses) met in horrible assembly in 
solitary jDlaces, where they found tables spread with nu- 
merous and dainty viands. These poor Christians loved 
indeed to meet together from districts often very remote. 
They went to the rendezvous by night and along by-roads. 
The most learned of them used to recite some passages of 
Scripture, after which they conversed together and prayed. 
But such humble conventicles were ridiculously travestied. 
' Do you know what they do to get there, ' said the peo- 
ple, ' so that the officers may not stop them ? The devil 
has given them a certain ointment, and when they want 
to go to Vaudery, they smear a little stick with it. As 
soon as they get astride it, they are carried up through 
the air, and arrive at their Sabbath without meeting any- 
body. In the midst of them sits a goat with a monkey's 
tail : this is Satan, who receives their adoration. ' . . . 
These stupid stories were not peculiar to the people : they 
were circulated particularly by the monks. It was thus 
that the inquisitor Jean de Broussart spoke in 1460 from 
a pulpit erected in the great square at Arras. An im- 
mense multitude surrounded him ; a scaftbld was erected 
in front of the pulpit, and a number of men and women, 
kneeling and wearing caps with the figure of the devil 
painted on them, awaited their punishment. Perhaps 
the faith of these poor people was mingled with eiTor. 
But be that as it may, they were all burnt alive after the 
sermon." ^ 

It seems that these Waldenses had a Sabbath 
peculiar to themselves. And D'Aubigne himselt 
alludes to something peculiar in their faith which 

1 Reformation in the time of Calvin, vol. i. p. 349 ; D'Aubigne 
cites as his authority, " Histoire des Protestants de I'icardie'" by 
L. Rossier, p. 2. 


he cannot confess as the truth, and does not 
choose to denounce as error. He says, " Perhaps 
the faith of these poor people was mingled with 
error." To speak of the observance of the sev- 
enth day as the Sabbath of the Lord by New- 
Testament Christians, subjects a conscientious 
first-day historian to this very dilemma. We 
have a further account of the Waldenses in 
France, just before the commencement of the 
Reformation of the sixteenth century : — 

''Louis XII., king of France, being informed by the 
enemies of the Waldenses inhabiting a part of the prov- 
ince of Provence, that several heinous crimes were laid to 
their account, sent the Master of Requests, and a certain 
doctor of the Sorbonne, who was confessor to His Maj- 
esty, to make inquiry into this matter. On their return, 
they reported that they had visited all the parishes where 
they dwelt, had inspected their places of worship, but 
that they had found there no images, nor signs of the 
ornaments belonging to the mass, nor any of the cere- 
monies^ of the Romish church ; much less could they dis- 
cover any traces of those crimes with which they were 
charged. On the contrary, they kept the Sabbath day, 
observed the ordinance of baptism according to the prim- 
itive church, instructed their children in the articles of 
the Christian faith and the commandments of God. The 
king having heard the report of his commissioners, said 
with an oath that they were better men than himself or 
his people."^ 

We further read concerning the Vaudois, or 
Waldenses, as follows : — 

' ' The respectable French historian, De Thou, says that 
the Vaudois keep the commandments of the decalogue, 
and allow among them of no wickedness, detesting per- 
juries, imprecations, quarrels, seditions, &c."^ 

It maybe proper to add that in 1686 the Wal- 

'.Tones's Church History, vol. ii. chap. v. sect. 4. 
3 History of the Vandois by Bressc. p. 12(j. 


denses were all driven out of the valleys of Pied- 
mont, and that those who returned and settled in 
those valleys three years afterward, and from 
whom the present race of Waldenses is descended, 
fought their way back, sword in hand, pursuing 
in all respects a course entirely different from that 
of the ancient Waldenses. ^ 

Another class of witnesses to the truth during 
the Dark Ages, bore the name of Cathari, that is, 
Puritans. Jones speaks of them as follows : — 

' '■ They were a plain, unassuming, harmless, and indus- 
trious race of Christians, patiently bearing the cross after 
Christ, and, both in their doctrines and manners, con- 
demning the whole system of idolatry and superstition 
which reigned in the church of Rome, placing true relig- 
ion in the faith, hope and obedience of the gospel, main- 
taining a supreme regard to the authority of God in his 
word, and regulating their sentiments and practices by 
that divine standard. Even in the twelfth century their 
numbers abounded in the neighborhood of Cologne, in 
Flanders, the South of France, Savoy, and Milan. 
* They were increased,' says Egbert, ' to great multitudes, 
throughout all countries.' "^ 

That the Cathari did retain and observe the 
ancient Sabbath, is certified by their Romish ad- 
versaries. Dr. Allix quotes a Roman Catholic au- 
thor of the twelfth century concerning three sorts 
of heretics, the Cathari, the Passagii, and the Ar- 
noldistfe. Allix says of this Romish writer that, 

'^He lays it down also as one of their opinions, 'that 
the law of Moses is to be kept according to the letter, and 
that the keeping of the Sabbath, circumcision, and other 
legal observances, ought to take place. They hold also 
that Christ the Son of God is not equal with the Father, 
and that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, these three 
persons, are not one God and one substance ; and as a sur- 

1 Benedict's Hist. Bapt. p. 41. 

2 Hist. Church, chap. iv. sect. 3. 


plus to these their errors, they judge and condemn all the 
doctors of the church, and universally the whole Roman 
church. Now since they endeavor to defend this their 
error by testimonies drawn from the New Testament and 
prophets, I shall with [the] assistance of the grace of 
Christ stop their mouths, as David did Goliah's, with 
their own sword.' " ^ 

Dr. AUix quotes another Romish author to the 
same effect : — 

" Alanus attributes to the Cathari almost the A'^ery same 
opinions [as those just enumerated] in his first book 
against heretics, which he wrote about the year 1192." ^ 

Mr. Elliott mentions an incident concerning the 
Cathari, which is in harmony with what these 
historians assert respecting their observance of 
the seventh day. He says : — 

"In this year [a. d. 1163] certain heretics of the sect 
of the Cathari, coming from the parts of Flanders to 
Cologne, took up their abode secretly in a barn near the 
city. But, as on the LortVs day they did not go to church, 
they were seized by the neighbors, and detected. On 
their being brought before the Catholic church, when, 
after long examination respecting their sect, they would 
be convinced by no evidence however convincing, but 
most pertinaciously persisted in their doctrine and resolu- 
tion, they were cast out from the church, and delivered 
into the hands of laics. These, leading them without the 
city committed them to the flames : being four men and 
one little girl. " ^ 

These statements are made respecting three 
classes of Christian people who lived during the 
Dark Ages : The Cathari, or Puritans, the Ar- 
noldistfe, and the Passaginians. Their views are 

lEccl. Hist, of the Ancient Churches of Piedmont, pp. 1G8, 1G9, 
Boston, Pub. Lib. The author. Kev. Peter Allix, D. D., was a 
French Protestant, born in 1(141, and was distingui.shed for pietj 
and erudition. — Lbmpriere\ Universal JJioaraphy. 

^ Id. p. 17<X ■ 

=» Horio Apocalypticso, vol. ii. p. 201. 


presented m the uncandid language of their ene- 
mies. But the testimony of ancient Catholic 
historians is decisive that they were observers of 
the seventh day. The charge that they observed 
circumcision also, will be noticed presently. Mr. 
Robinson understands that the Passaginians were 
that* portion of the Waldenses who lived in the 
passes of the mountains. He says : — 

^ ' It is very credible that the name Passageros or 
Passagini . . . was given to such of them as lived in or 
near the passes or passages of the mountains, and who 
subsisted in part by guiding travelers or by traveling 
themselves for trade." ^ 

Mr. Elliott says of the name Passagini : — 

" The explanation of the term as meaning Pilgrims, in 
both the spiritual and missionary sense of the word, 
would be but the translation of their recognized Greek 
appellation eKOT^/jot., and a title as distinctive as beau- 
tiful. "- 

Mosheim gives the following account of them : — 

*^In Lombardy, which was the principal residence of 
the Italian heretics, there sprung up a singular sect, 
known, for what reason I cannot tell, by the denomina- 
tion of Passaginians, and also by that of the circumcised. 
Like the other sects already mentioned, they had the ut- 
most aversion to the dominion and discipline of the church 
of Rome ; but they were at the same time distinguished 
by two religious tenets which were peculiar to themselves. 
The first was a notion that the observance of the law of 
Moses, in everything except the offering of sacrifices, was 
obligatory upon Christians ; in consequence of which they 
circumcised their followers, abstained from those meats 
the use of which was prohibited under the Mosaic econ- 
omy, and celebrated the Jewish Sabbath. The second 
tenet that distinguished this sect was advanced in opposi- 

Eccl. Researches, chap. x. pp. 305, 30G. 
Horse Apocalypticpe, vol. ii. p. 342. 


tion to the doctrine of tliree persons in the divine na- 
ture. " ^ 

Mr. Benedict speaks of tliem as follows : — 

''The account of their practicing circumcision is un- 
doubtedlj'^ a slanderous story forged by their enemies, 
and probably arose in this way : because they observed 
the seventh day they were called by way of derision, 
Jews, as the Sabl^atarians are frequently at this day ; and 
if they were Jews, it followed of course that they either 
did, or ought to, cu'cumcise their followers. This was 
probably the reasoning of their enemies ; but that they 
actually practiced the bloody rite is altogether improb- 

An eminent cliurcli historian, Michael Geddes, 
thus testifies : — 

" This [act] of fixing something that is justly abomin- 
able to all mankind upon her adversaries, has been the 
constant practice of the church of Rome."'^ 

Dr. Allix states the same fact, which needs to 
he kept in mind whenever we read of the people 
of God in the records of the Dark Ages : — 

"I must desire the reader to consider that it is no 
great sin with the church of Rome to spread lies concern- 
ing those that are enemies of that faith." * 

* ' There is nothing more common with the Romish 
party than to make use of the most horrid calumnies to 
blacken and expose those who have renounced her com- 

Of the origin of the Petrobrusians, we have the 
following account by Mr. Jones : — 

*' But the Cathari or Puritans were not the only sect 
which, during the twelfth century, appeared in opposition 

> Eccl. Hist. cent. xii. part ii. chap. v. sect. 14. 

3 General Hist. iJapt. Denom. a^oI. ii. p. 414, cd. 1813. 

■'Acts and Decrees of the Svnod of Diamper, p. 158, London 

■» Kccl. Hist, oftlie Ancient Churches of I'iediuonl, p. 2J4. 
» Id. p. '22,"). 


to the superstition of tlie church of Rome. About the 
year 1110, in the south of France, in the provinces of 
Languedoc and Provence, appeared Peter de Bruys, 
preaching the gospel of the kingdom of Heaven, and ex- 
erting the most laudable efibrts to reform the abuses and 
remove the superstition which disfigured the beautiful 
simplicity of the gospel worship. His labors were crowned 
with abundant success. He converted a great number of 
disciples to the faith of Christ, and after a most in- 
defatigable ministry of twenty years' continuance, he 
was burned at St. Giles, a city of Languedoc in France, 
A. D. 1130, by an enraged populace, instigated by the 
clergy, who apprehended their traffic to be in danger from 
this new and intrepid reformer."^ 

That this body of French Christians, who, in 
the very midnight of the Dark Ages witnessed 
for the truth in opposition to the Romish church, 
were observers of the ancient Sabbath is ex- 
pressly certified by Dr. Francis White, lord bishop 
of Ely. He was appointed by the king of Eng- 
land to write against the Sabbath in opposition 
to Brabourne, who had appealed to the king in 
its behalf To show that Sabbatic observance 
is contrary to the doctrine of the Catholic church 
— a weighty argument with an Episcopalian — he 
enumerates various classes of heretics who had 
been condemned by the Catholic church for keep- 
ing holy the seventh day. Among these heretics 
he places the Petrobrusians : — 

' ' In St. Bernard's days it was condemned in the Petro- 

We have seen that, according to Catholic writ- 
ers, the Cathari held to the observance of the 
seventh day. Dr. Allix confirms the statement 
of Dr. White that the Petrobrusians observed the 

> Hist, of the Church, chap. iv. sect. 3. 
'•^Treatise of the Sabbath dav, p. 8. 


ancient Sabbath, by stating that the doctrines of 
these two bodies greatly resembled each other. 
These are his words : — 

'' Petrus Cluniacensis has handled five questions against 
the Petrobrusians which bear a great resemblance with the 
belief of the Cathari of Italy. " ^ 

The Sabbath-keepers in the eleventh century 
were of sufficient importance to call down upon 
themselves the anathema of the pope. Dr. Hey- 
lyn says that, 

"Gregory, of that name the seventh [about a. d. 1074], 
condemned those who taught that it was not lawful to do 
work on the day of the Sabbath. " - 

This act of the pope corroborates the testimo- 
nies we have adduced in proof of the existence of 
Sabbath-keepers in the Dark Ages. Gregory the 
Seventh was one of the greatest men that ever 
filled the papal chair. Whatever class he anath- 
ematized was of some consequence. Gregory 
wasted nothing on trifles. ^ 

In the eleventh century, there were Sabbath- 
keepers also in Constantinople and its vicinity. 
The pope, in A. D. 1054, sent three legates to the 
emperor of the East, and to the patriarch of Con- 
stantinople, for the purpose of re-uniting the 
Greek and the Latin churches. Cardinal Hum- 
bert was the head of this legation. The legates, 
on their arrival, set themselves to the work of 
refuting those doctrines which distingush the 

>Eccl. Hist, of the Ancient Churches of Piedmont, p. 1G2. 

2 History of the Sabbuth, part ii. chap. t. sect. 1. 

sJiower says of Gregory : "He was a man of most extraordi- 
nary parts, of an unlbounded ambition, of a haughty and impe- 
rious temper, of resolution and courage incapable of yielding to 
the greatest difficulties, perfectly acquainted toith the state of the 
wextern churches, as well as with tiie different interests of the 
(.'hristian princes." — lI'iKtory nf the Popex, vol. ii. p. 3T8. 


churcii of Constantinople from that of Rome. 
After they had attended to the questions which 
separated the two churches, they found it also 
necessary to discuss the question of the Sabbath. 
For one of the most learned men of the East had 
put forth a treatise, in which he maintained that 
ministers should be allowed to marry ; that the 
Sabbath should be kept holy ; and that leavened 
bread should be used in the supper ; all of which 
the churcli of Rome held to be deadly heresies. 
We quote from Mr. Bower a concise statement of 
t]ie treatment vdiich this Sabbatarian writer re- 
ceived : — 

''Humbert, likewise answered a piece tliat liad been 
published by a monk of the monastery of Studium, [near 
Constantinople,] named Nicetas, who was deemed one of 
tJie most learned men at the time in the east. In that piece 
the monk undertook to prove, that leavened bread only 
should be used in the eucharist, that the Sahhath ought to 
he kept holy, and that priests should be allowed to marry. 
But the emperor, who wanted by all means to gain the 
pope, for the reasons mentioned above, was, or rather 
pretended to be, so fully convinced with tlie arguments 
of the legate, confuting those alleged by Nicetas, that he 
obliged the monk publickly to recant, and anathematize 
all who held the opinion that he had endeavored to estab- 
lish, with respect to unleavened bread, the Sabbath, and 
the marriage of priests. 

''At the same time Nicetas, in compliance with the 
command of the emperor, anathematized all who should 
question the primacy of the Roman church with respect 
to all other Christian churches, or should presume to 
censure her ever orthodox faith. The monk having thus 
retracted all he had written against the Holy See, his 
book was burnt by the emperor's order, and he absolved, 
by the legates, from the censures he had incurred." ^ 

This record shows that, in the dense darkness 
of the eleventh century, " one of the most learned 

1 History of the Popes, vol. ii. p. 5->S. 


men at that time in the east" wrote a book to 
prove that " the Sabbath ought to be kept holy," 
and in opposition to the papal doctrine of the 
celibacy of the clergy. It also shows how the 
church of Rome casts down the truth of God by 
means of the sword of emperors and kings. 
Though Nicetas retracted, under fear of the em- 
peror and the pope, it appears that there were 
others who held the same opinions, for he was 
" obliged " to anathematize all sucli, and there is 
no evidence that any of these persons turned 
from the truth because of the fall of their leader. 
Indeed, if there had not been a considerable body 
of these Sabbatarians, the papal legate would 
never have deemed it worthy of his dignity to 
write a reply to Nicetas. 

The Anabaptists are often referred to in the 
records of the Dark Ages. The term signifies re- 
bap tizers, and was applied to them because they 
denied the validity of infant baptism. The des- 
ignation is not accurate, how^ever, because tliose 
persons wdiom they baptized, they considered as 
never having been baptized before, although they 
had been sprinkled or even immersed in infancy. 
This people have been overwhelmed in obloquy 
in consequence of the fanatical insurrection whicli 
broke out in their name in the time of Luther. 
Of those enoraored in this insurrection. Buck 
says :— 

" Tlie first insurgents groaned under severe oppres- 
sions, and took up arms in defense of their civil liberties ; 
and of these commotions the Anabaptists seem rather to 
have availed themselves, than to have been the prime 
movers. That a great part v/ere Anabaptists seems indis- 
putable ; at the same time it appears from liistory that a 
gi-eat part also were Roman Catholics, and a still greater 


part of those who had scarcely any religious principles 
at all."^ 

This matter is placed in the true light by 
Stebbing : — 

"The overthrow of civil society, and fatal injuries to 
religion were threatened by those w^ho called themselves 
Anabaptists. But large numbers appear to have disputed 
the validity of infant baptism who had nothing else in 
common wdth them, yet who for that one circumstance 
w^ere overwhelmed with the obloquy, and the punishment 
richly due to a fanaticism equally fraudulent and licen- 
tious. " * 

The ancient Sabbath was retained and ob- 
served by a portion of the Anabaptists, or, to use 
a more proper term, Baptists. Dr. Francis White 
thus testifies : — 

"They which maintain the Saturday Sabbath to be in 
force, comply with some Anabaptists."" 

In harmony with this statement of Dr. White, 
is the testimony of a French writer of the six- 
teenth century. He names all the classes of men 
who have borne the name of Anabaptists. Of 
one of these classes he writes thus : — 

" Some have endured great torments, because they 
would not keep Sundays and festival days, in despite of 
Antichi-ist : seeing they were days appointed by Anti- 
christ, they would not hold forth any thing which is like 
unto him. Others observe these days, but it is out of 

Thus it is seen that within the limits of the 
old Roman Empire, and in the midst of those 
countries that submitted to the rule of the pope, 

1 Theological Diet. art. Anabaptists. 

2 Hist. Church, vol. i. pp. 183, 184. 

3 Treatise of the Sabbath daj, p. 132. He cites Hist. Ana- 
bapt. lib. 6, p. 153. 

■* The Rise, Spring, and Foundation of the Anabaptists or Re- 
baptized of our Times. By Guy de Brez, A. D. loOn. 


God reserved unto himself a people that did not 
bow the knee to Baal, and among these the Bible 
Sabbath was observed from age to age. We are 
now to search for the Sabbath among those who 
were never subjected to the Roman pontiff. In 
Central Africa, from the first part of the Chris- 
tian era — possibly from the time of the conver- 
sion of the Ethiopian officer of great authority^ 
but very certainly as early as A. D. 330 ^ — have 
existed tlie churches of Abyssinia and Ethiopia. 
About the time of the accession of the Roman 
Bishop to supremacy, they were lost sight of by 
the nations of Europe. "Encompassed on all 
sides," says Gibbon, " by the enemies of their re- 
ligion, the Ethiopians slept near a thousand years, 
forgetful of the world, by whom they were for- 
gotten."^ In the latter part of the fifteenth 
century, they were again brought to the knowl- 
edge of the world by the discovery of Portuguese 
navigators. Undoubtedly they have been greatly 
affected by the dense darkness of pagan and Ma- 
hometan errors with wliich they are encompassed ; 
and in many respects they have lost the pure and 
spiritual religion of our divine Redeemer. A 
modern traveler says of them : " They have di- 
vers errors and many ancient truths." "^ Michsel 
Geddes says of them : — 

"The Abyssinians do hokl the Scriptures to be the 
l)erfect rule of tlie Christian faith ; insomuch that they 
deny it to be in the power of a general council to oblige 
people to believe anything as an article of faith without 
an express warrant from thence."^ 

1 Acts 8 : 20-40. 

^M'Clintock and Strong's Cyclopaedia, vol. i. p. 40. 

3 Dec. and Fall, chap, xlvii. 

<Maxson'K Hist. Sab. p. 83, ed. 1844. 

•■'Church Hist, of Ethiopia, p. 31. 


They practice circumcision, but for other rea- 
sons than that of a religious duty.^ Geddes fur- 
ther states their views : — •' 

' ' Transubstantiation and the adoration of the conse- 
crated bread in the sacrament, were what the Abyssin- 
ians abhorred. . . . They deny purgatory, and know 
nothing of confirmation and extreme unction ; they con- 
demn graven images ; they keep both Saturday and Sun- 

Their views of the Sabbath are stated by the 
ambassador of -the king of Ethiopia, at the court 
of Lisbon, in the following words, explaining 
their abstinence from all labor on that day : — 

' ' Because God, after he had finished the creation of 
the world, rested thereon ; which day, as God would have 
it called the holy of holies, so the not celebrating thereof 
with great honor and devotion, seems to be plainly con- 
trary to God's will and precept, who will sufier heaven 
and earth to pass away sooner than his word ; and that 
especially, since Christ came not to destroy the law, but 
to fulfill it. It is not therefore in imitation of the Jews, 
but in obedience to Christ and his holy apostles, that we 
observe that day."^ 

The ambassador states their reasons for first- 
day observance in these words : — 

"We do observe the Lord's day after the manner of 
all other Christians in memory of Christ's resurrection."* 

He had no scripture to offer in support of this 
festival, and evidently rested its observance upon 
tradition. This account was given by the am- 
bassador in 1534. In the early part of the next 
century the emperor of Abyssinia was induced 

^Id. p. 96 ; Gibbon, chap. xv. note 25 ; chap, xlvii. note ICO. 
M'Clintock and Strong's Cyclopedia, vol. i. p. 40, 

2 Church Hist. Ethiopia, pp. 34, 35; Purchas's Pilgrimage, 
book ii. chap. v. 

3Ch. Hist. Eth. pj). sr, 88. % J Id. lb. 

Sabbath Hist'^iv-. -^js* 


to submit to the pope in these words : " I confess 
that the pope is the vicar of Christ, the successor 
of St. Peter, and the sovereign of the world. To 
him I swear true obedience, and at his feet I of- 
fer my person and kingdom." ^ No sooner had 
the Roman bishop thus brought the emperor to 
submit to him than that potentate was compelled 
to gratify the popish hatred of the Sabbath by 
an edict forbidding its further observance. In 
the words of Geddes, he " set forth a proclama- 
tion prohibiting all his subjects upon severe pen- 
alties to observe Saturday any longer." ^ Or as 
Gibbon expresses it, " The Abyssinians were en- 
joined to work and to play on the Sabbath." 
But the tyranny of the Romanists, after a terri- 
ble struggle, caused their overthrow and banish- 
ment, and the restoration of the ancient faith. 
The churches resounded with a song of triumph, 
" ' that the sheep of Ethiopia were now delivered 
from the hysenas of the West ;' and the gates of 
that solitary realm were forever shut against the 
arts, the science, and the fanaticism of Europe." ^ 
We have proved in a former chapter that the 
Sabbath was extensively observed as late as the 
middle of the fifth century in the so-called Cath- 
olic church, especially in that portion most inti- 
mately connected with the Abyssinians; and 
that from various causes, Sunday obtained cer- 
tain Sabbatic honors, in consequence of which 
the two days were called sisters. We have also 
shown in another chapter that the effectual sup- 
pression of the Sabbath in Europe is mainly due 
to papal influence. And so for a thousand years 

1 Gibbon, chap, xlvii. 

••«Ch. Hist. Eth. pp. 311, 812 ; Gobat's Abyssinia, pp. 83, 93. 

' Gibbon, chap, xlvii. 


we have been tracing its history in the records 
of those men which the church of Rome has 
sought to kill. 

These facts are strikingly corroborated by the 
case of the Ab3^ssinians. In consequence of their 
location in the interior of Africa, the Abyssinians 
ceased to be known to the rest of Christendom 
about the fifth centur}^. At this point, the Sab- 
bath and the Sunday in the Catholic church 
were counted sisters. One thousand years later, 
these African churches are \dsited, and though 
surrounded by the thick darkness of pagan and 
Mahometan superstition, and somewhat affected 
thereby, they are found at the end of this period 
holding the Sabbath and first-day substantially 
as held by the Catholic church when they were 
lost sight of by it. The Catholics of Europe on 
the contrary had, in the meantime, trampled the 
ancient Sabbath in the dust. Why was this 
great contrast ? Simply because the pope ruled 
in Europe, while central Africa, whatever else it 
may have suffered, was not cursed with his pres- 
ence nor with his influence. But so soon as the 
pope learned of the existence of the Abyssinian 
churches, he sought to gain control of them, and 
when he had gained it, one of his first acts was 
to suppress the Sabbath ! In the end, the Abys- 
sinians regained their independence, and thence- 
forward till the present time have held fast the 
Sabbath of the Lord. 

The Armenians of the East Indies are pecul- 
iarly worthy of our attention. J. W. Massie, M. 
R. I. A., says of the East Indian Christians : — 

" Remote from the busy haunts of commerce, or the 
populous seats of manufacturing industry, they may be 
regarded as the eastern Piedmontese, the Yallois of Hin- 


doostan, the witnesses prophesying in sackcloth through 
revolving centuries, though indeed their bodies lay as 
dead in the streets of the city which they had once peo- 

Geddes says of tbose in Malabar : — 

''The tliree great doctrines of popery, the pope's su- 
premacy, trans ubstantiation, the adoration of images, 
were never believed nor practiced at any time in this an- 
cient apostolical church. ... I think one may venture 
to say that before the time of the late Reformation, there 
was no church that we know of, no, not that of the Vaudois, 
.... that had so few errors in doctrine as the church 
of Malabar." He adds concerning those churches that 
"were never within the bounds of the Roman Empire," 
"It is in those churches that we are to meet with the 
least of the leaven of popery. "- 

Mr. Massie further describes these Christians: — 

" The creed which these representatives of an ancient 
line of Christians cherished was not in conformity with 
papal decrees, and has with difficulty been squared with 
the thii-ty-nine articles of the Anglican episcopacy. Sep- 
arated from the western world for a thousand years, they 
were naturally ignorant of many novelties introduced by 
the councils and decrees of the Lateran ; and their con- 
formity vnth the faith and practice of the first ages, laid them 
open to the unpardonable guilt of heresy and schism, as 
estimated by the church of E,ome. ' We are Christians 
and not idolaters,' was their expressive reply when re- 
quired to do homage to the image of the Virgin Mary. . 
... La Croze states them at fifteen hundred churches, 
and as many towns and villages. They refused to recog- 
nize the l>ope, and declared they had never heard of liim ; 
they asserted the purity and primitive truth of their 
faith since they came, and their bishops had for thirteen 
hundred years been sent from the place where the follow- 
ers of Jesus were first called Christians."^ 

The Sabbatarian character of these Christians 

'Continental India, vol. ii. p. 12^. 

5 Acts and Docreos of tlie Svnod of Diaiiijii.T, preface. 

MJontincutallndia, vol. ii.pi.. lltl, 117. 


is hinted by Mr. Yeates. He says that Saturday 
" amongst them is a festival day, agreea hie to 
the ancient pvoxtice of the church!' ^ 

"The ancient practice of the church," as we 
have seen, was to hallow the seventh day in 
memory of the Creator's rest. This practice has 
been suppressed wherever the great apostasy 
has had power to do it. But the Christians of 
the East Indies, like those of Abyssinia, have 
lived sufficiently remote from Rome to be pre- 
served in some decrree from its blastino: influence. 
The same fact is further hinted by the same 
writer in the following lavUguage : — 

' ' The inquisition was set up at Goa in the Indies, at 
the instance of Francis Xaverius [a famous Romish saint] 
who signified by letters to Pope John III. , Nov. 10, 1545, 
* That the Jewish wickedness spread every day more and 
more in the parts of the East Indies subject to the kingdom 
of Portugal, and therefore he earnestly besought the said 
king, that to cure so great an evil he would take care to 
send the office of the inquisition into those countries."" 

"The Jewish wickedness" was doubtless the 
observance of Saturday as " a festival day agree- 
able to the ancient practice of the church" of 
which this author had just spoken. The history 
of the past, as we have seen, shows the hatred 
of the papal church toward the Sabbath. And 
the struggle of that church to suppress the Sab- 
bath in Abyssinia, and to subject that people to 
the pope which at this very point of time was 
just commencing, shows that the Jesuits would 
not willingly tolerate Sabbatic observance in the 
East Indies, even though united with the observ- 
ance of Sunday also. 

lEast Indian Church History, pp. 133, 131. 
2 Id. pp. 130, 140. 


It appears therefore that this Jesuit mission- 
ary desired the pope and the king of Portugal to 
establish the inquisition in that part of the Indies 
subject to Portugal, in order to root out the Sab- 
bath from those ancient churches. The inquisi- 
tion was established in answer to this prayer, 
and Xavier was subsequently canonized as a 
saint ! Nothing can more clearly show the ma- 
lignity of the Roman pontiff toward the Sabbath 
of the Lord ; and nothing more clearly illustrates 
the kind of men that he canonizes as saints. 

Since the time of Xavier, the East Indies have 
fallen under British rule. A distinguished cler- 
gyman of the church of England some years 
since visited the British Empire in India, for 
the purpose of acquainting himself with these 
churches. He gave the following deeply inter- 
esting sketch of these ancient Christians, and in 
it particularly marks their Sabbatarian charac- 
ter : — 

' ' The history of the Armenian church is very interest- 
ing. Of all the Christians in Central Asia, they have 
preserv^ed themselves most free from Mahometan and pa- 
pal corruptions. The pope assailed them for a time with 
great violence, but with little effect. The churches in 
lesser Armenia indeed consented to an union, which did 
not long continue ; but those in Persian Armenia main- 
tained their independence ; and they retain their ancient 
Scriptures, doctrines, and worship, to this day. ' It is 
marvelous,' says an intelligent traveler who Avas much 
among them, ' hoAV the Armenian Christians have pre- 
served their faith, equally against the vexatious oppres- 
sion of the Mahometans, their sovereigns, and against 
the persuasions of the Romish church, which for more 
than two centuries has endeavored, by missionaries, 
priests and monks, to attach them to her communion. 
It is impossil)le to describe the artifices and expenses of 
the court of Rome to effect this object, but all in vain.' 

''Tlie Bible was translated into the Armenian language 


in the fifth century, under very auspicious circumstances, 
the history of which has come down to us. It has been 
allowed by competent judges of the language, to be a most 
faithful translation. La Cruze calls it the ' Queen of Ver- 
sions.' This Bible has ever remained in the possession of 
the Armenian people ; and many illustrious instances of 
geniiine and enlightened piety occur in their history. . . 
''The Armenians in Hindoostan are our own subjects. 
They acknowledge our government in India, as they do 
that of the Sophi in Persia ; and they are entitled to our 
regard. They have preserved the Bible in its purity; 
and their doctrines are, as far as the author knows, the 
doctrines of the Bible. Besides, they maintain the sol- 
emn observance of Christian worship throughout our em- 
pire, ON THE SEVENTH DAY, and they have as many spires 
pointing to heaven among the Hindoos as we ourselves. 
Are such a people then entitled to no acknowledgment on 
our part, as fellow Christians? Are they forever to be 
ranked by us with Jews, Mahometans, and Hindoos?"^ 

It has been said, however, that Buchanan 
might have intended Sunday by the term "sev- 
enth day." This is a very unreasonable inter- 
pretation of his words. Episcopalian clergymen 
are not accustomed to call Sunday the seventh 
day. We have, however, testimony which cz^a- 
not with candor be explained away. It is that 
of Purchas, written in the seventeenth century. 
The author speaks of sev^eral sects of the eastern 
Christians " continuing from ancient times," as 
Syrians, Jacobites, Nestorians, Maronites, and 
Armenians. Of the Syrians, or Surians, as he 
variously spells the name, who, from his relation, 
appear to be identical with the Armenians, he 
says : — 

" They keep Saturday holy, nor esteem Saturday fast 
lawful but on Easter even. They have solemn service on 
Saturdays, eat flesh, and feast it bravely like the Jews."^ 

1 Buchanan's Christian Researches in Asia, pp 159, IGO. 

2 Purchas His Pilgrimcs, part ii. book viii. chap. vi. sect. 5, 


This author speaks of these Christians disre- 
spectfully, but he uses the uncandid statements 
of their adversaries, which, indeed, are no worse 
than those often made in these days concerning 
those who hallow the Bible Sabbath. These 
facts clearly attest the continued observance of 
the Sabbath during the whole period of the Dark 
Ages. The church of Rome was indeed able to 
exterminate the Sabbath from its own commun- 
ion, but it was retained by the true people of 
God, who were measurably hidden from the pa- 
pacy in the wilds of Central Europe ; while those 
African and East Indian churches, that were 
never within the limits of the pope's dominion, 
have steadfastly retained the Sabbath to the 
present day. 



The Reformation arose in the Catholic church — The Sabbath 
had been crushed out of that church, and innumerable fes- 
tivals established in its stead — Sunday as observed by 
Luther, Melancthon, Zwingle, Beza, Bucer, Cranmer, and 
Tyndaie — The position of Calvin stated at length and il- 
lustrated — Knox agreed with Calvin — Sunday in Scotland 
A. I). 1001 — IIow we should view the Reformers. 

The great Reformation of the sixteenth cen- 
tury arose from the bosom of the Catkolic church 

p. 12G9, London, 1025. The "Encyclopedia Britannica," vol, viii. 

E. Cys, eighth ed., speaks of Purchas as " an Englishman admira- 
ly skilled in language and human and divine arts, a very great 
philosopher, historian, and theologian." 


itself. From that church the Sabbath had long 
been extirpated ; and instead of that merciful in- 
stitution ordained by the divine Lawgiver for the 
rest and refreshment of mankind, and that man 
might acknov/ledge God as his Creator, the pa- 
pacy had ordained innumerable festivals, which, 
as a terrible burden, crushed the people to the 
earth. These festivals are thus enumerated by 
Dr. Heylyn : — 

' ' These holy clays as they were named particularly in 
Pope Gregory's decretal, so was a perfect list made of 
them in the Syiiod of Lyons, a. d. 1244, which being cel- 
ebrated with a great concourse of people from all parts of 
Christendom, the canons and decrees thereof began 
forthwith to find a general admittance. The holy days 
allowed of there, were these that follow ; viz., the feast 
of Christ's nativity, St. Stephen, St. John the evangelist, 
the Innocents, St. Sylvester, the circumcision of our 
Lord, the Epiphany, Easter, together with the week pre- 
cedent, and the week succeeding, the three days in roga- 
tion week, the day of Christ's ascension, Whitsunday, 
with the two days after, St. John the Baptist, the feasts 
of all the twelve apostles, all the festivities of our Lady, 
St. Lawrence, all the Lord's days in the year, St. 
Michael the Archangel, All Saints, St. Martin's, the 
wakes, or dedication of particular churches, together with 
the feasts of such topical or local saints which some par- 
ticular people had been pleased to honor with a day par- 
ticular amongst themselves. On these and every one of 
them, the people were restrained as before was said from 
many several kinds of work, on pain of ecclesiastical cen- 
sures to be laid on them v/hich did ofiend, unless on some 
emergent causes, either of charity or necessity they were 
dispensed with for so doing. . . . Peter de Aliaco, 
Cardinal of Cambray, in a discourse by him exhibited 
to the council of Constance [a. d. 1416] made public suit 
unto the fathers there assembled, that there might [be] a 
stop in that kind hereafter ; as also that excepting Sun- 
days and the greater festivals it might be lawful for the 
people, after the end of divine service to attend their bus- 
iness; the poor especially, as having little time enough 
on the working days to get their living. But these were 


only the expressions of well-wisliing men. The popes 
were otherwise resolved, and did not only keep the holy 
days which they found established, in the same state in 
Avhich they found them, but added others daily as they 

saw occasion Thus stood it as before I said, 

both for the doctrine and the practice, till men began to 
look into the errors and abuses in the Roman church 
with a more serious eye than before they did."^ 

Such was the state of things when the I'eform- 
ers began their labors. That they should give up 
these festivals and return to the observance of 
the ancient Sabbath, would be expecting too 
much of men educated in the bosom of the Rom- 
ish church. Indeed, it ought not to surprise us 
that, while they were constrained to strike down 
the authority of these festivals, they should nev- 
ertheless retain the most important of them in 
their observance. The reformers spoke on this 
matter as follows : The Confession of the Swiss 
churches declares that, 

' ' The observance of the Lord's day is founded not on any 
commandment of God, but on the authority of the church ; 
and, That the church may alter the day at pleasure. "- 

We further learn that, 

^' In the Augsburg Confession which was drawn up by 
Melancthon [and approved by Luther], to the question, 
' What ought we to think of the Lord's day V it is an- 
swered that the Lord's day, Easter, Whitsuntide, and 
other such holy days, ought to be kept because they are 
appointed by the church, that all things may be done in 
order; but that the observance of them is not to be 
thought necessary to salvation, nor the violation of them, 
if it be done without offense to others, to be regarded as 
a sin."^ 

Zwingle declared " that it was lawful on the 

• Ilist. Sab. part ii. chap. vi. sects. 3, T). 

2 Cox's Sabbath Laws, &c. p. 2S7. ^ Id- lb 


Lord's day, after divine service, for any man to 
pursue his labors."^ Beza taught that "no ces- 
sation of work on the Lord's day is required of 
Christians."" Bucer oroes further vet, " and doth 
not only call it a superstition, but an apostasy 
from Christ to think that working on the Lord's 
day, in itself considered, is a sinful thing." ^ And 
Cranmer, in his Catechism, published in 1548, 
says :— 

'• AYe now keep no more the Sabbath on Saturday as 
the Jews do ; but we observe the Sundaj^, and certain 
other days as the magistrates do judge convenient, whom 
in this thing we ought to obey."* 

Tyndale said : — 

'^ As for the Sabbath, we be lords over the Sabbath, 
and may yet change it into Monday, or into any other 
day as we see need, or may make every tenth day holy 
day only if we see cause why."^ 

It is plain that both Cranmer and Tyndale be- 
lieved that the ancient Sabbath was abolished, 
and that Sunday was only a human ordinance 
which it was in the power of the magistrates and 
the church lawfully to change whenever they 
saw cause for so doing. And, Dr. Hessey gives 
the opinion of Zv/ingJe respecting the present 
power of each individual church to transfer the 
so-called Lord's day to another day, whenever 
necessity urges, as, for example, in harvest time. 
Thus Zwingle says : — 

"If we would have the Lord's day so bound to time 
that it shall be v/ickedness to transfer it to another time, 
in which resting from our labors equally as in that, we 
may hear the word of God, if necessity haply shall so re- 
quii'e, this day so solicitously observed, would obtrude 

1 Cox's Sabbath Laws, &c. p. 2s7. = Id. p. 28r.. 3 id. lb. 
* Id. p. 28'J. ^Tyndale's Answer to More, book i. chap. xxv. 


on us as a ceremony. For we are no way bound to time, 
but time ought so to serve us, that it is lawful, and per- 
mitted to each church, when necessity urges (^s is usual 
to be done in harvest time), to transfer the solemnity and 
rest of the Lord's day, or Sabbath, to some other day."^ 

Zwingle could not, therefore, have considered 
Sunday as a divinely appointed memorial of the 
resurrection, or, indeed, as anything but a xjhurch 

John Calvin said, respecting the origin of the 
Sunday festival : — 

"However, the ancients have not without sufficient 
reason substituted what lue call the Lord's day in the 
room of the Sabbath. For since the resurrection of the 
Lord is the end and consummation of that true rest, 
which was adumbrated by the ancient Sabbath ; the same 
day which put an end to the shadows, admonishes Chris- 
tians not to adhere to a shadowy ceremony. Yet I do 
not lay so much stress on the septenary number that I 
would oblige the church to an invariable adherence to it ; 
nor will I condemn those churches, which have other sol- 
emn days for their assemblies, provided they keep at a 
distance from superstition." - 

It is worthy of notice that Calvin does not as- 
sign to Christ and his disciples the establishment of 
Sunday in the place of the Sabbath. He says this 
was done by the ''ancients,"^ or as another trans- 
lates it, " the old fathers." Nor does he say " the 
day which John called the Lord's day," but "the 
day which vje call the Lord's day." And v^hat is 

I worthy of particular notice he did not insist that 
the day which should be appropriated to worship 
should be one day in every seven; for he was 

' Hessey, p. 2'>-2. 

» Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, book ii. chap, 
viii. scot. 34, translated bv John Alien. 

■•'Qmuuiuain non sine delectu Dorainicum quern vocamus diem 
veteres in locum Sabbathi subrogarunt. 


not tied to "the septenary number." The day- 
might come once in six days, or once in eight. 
And this proves conclusively that he did not re- 
gard Sunday as a divine institution in the proper 
sense of the word ; for if he had, he would most 
assuredly have felt that the festival must be sep- 
tenary, that is, weekly, and that he must urge 
" the church to an invariable adherence to it." 
But Calvin does not leave the matter here. He 
condemns as "false prophets" those who at- 
tempt to enforce the Sunday festival by means of 
the fourth commandment ; and who to do this say 
that the ceremonial part, which requires the ob- 
servance of the definite seventh day, is abolished, 
while the moral part, which simply commands 
the observance of one day in seven, still remains 
in force. Here are his words : — 

''Thus vanish all the dreams of false prophets, who in 
past ages have infected the people with a Jewish notion, 
affirming that nothing but the ceremonial part of the com- 
mandment, which according to them is the appointment 
of the seventh day, has been abrogated, but that the 
moral part of it, that is the observance of one day in 
seven, still remains. But this is only changing the day 
in contempt of the Jews, while they retain the same 
opinion of the holiness of a day." ^ 

Yet these very " dreams of false prophets," to 
use the words of Calvin, constitute the founda- 
tion of the modern doctrine of the change of the 
Sabbath. For whatever may be said of first-day 
sacred ness in the New Testament, the fourth 
commandment can only be made to recognize 
that day by means of this very doctrine of one 
day in seven which Calvin so sharply denounces. 
Now I state another important fact. Calvin's 

' Calviii'-s lustiliitcs, book ii. chiip. viii. sect, o-L 


commentaries on the New Testament cover all 
the books from which quotations are made in be- 
half of Sunday except the book of Revelation. 
What does Calvin say concerning the change of 
the Sabbath in the record of Christ's resurrec- 
tion?^ Not one word. He does not even hint 
at any sacredness in the day, nor any commemo- 
ration of the day. Does he say that the meeting 
" after eight da3^s " was upon Sunday ? He does 
not say what day it was.^ What does he say of 
Sunday in treating of the day of Pentecost?^ 
Nothing. He does not so much as say that this 
festival was on the first day of the week. What 
does he say of the breaking of bread at Troas ? 
He thinks it took place upon the ancient Sab- 
bath ! He says : — 

''Either he doth mean the first day of the week, which 
was next after the Sabbath, or else some certain Sabbath. 
Wliicli latter thing may seem to me more probable ; for 
this cause, because that day was more Jit for an assembly, 
according to custom.'' * 

He says, however, that this place might " very 
well " be translated " the morrow after the Sab- 
bath." But he adheres to his own translation, 
"one day of the Sabbaths," and not "first day of 
the week." He says further : — 

"For to what end is there mentioned of the Sabbath, 
save only that he may note the opportunity and choice of 
the time ? Also, it is a likely matter that Paul waited 
for the Sabbath, that the day before his departure he 
might the more easily gather all the disciples into one 
place. "^ 

1 Calvin's Harmony of the Evangelists on Matt. 28; Mark 16 ; 
Luke 24. '^ ' 

'Calvin's Commentary on John 20. 
'Calvin's Commentary on Acts 2:1. 
< Calvin's Commentary on Acts 20 :7, »Id. lb. 


"Therefore, I think thus, that they had appomted a 
solemn day for the celebrating of the holy supper of the 
Lord among themselves, which might be commodious for 
them all. " ^ 

This shows conckisively that Calvin believed 
the Sabbath, and not the first day of the week, 
to have been the day for meetings in the apostolic 
church. But what does he say of the laying by 
in store on the first day of the week ? He says 
that Paul's precept relates, not to the first day of 
the week, but to the Sabbath ! And he marks 
the Sabbath as the day on which the sacred as- 
semblies were held, and the communion cele- 
brated, and says that on account of these things 
this was the most convenient day for collecting 
their contribution. Thus he writes : — 

" On one of the Sahhaths. The end is this — that they 
may have their alms ready in time. He therefore ex- 
horts them not to wait till he came, as any thing that is 
done suddenly, and in a bustle, is not done well, but to 
contribute on the Sabbath what might seem good, and 
according as every one's ability might enable — that is on 
the day on which they held their sacred assemblies.^ 

" For he has an eye, first of all, to convenience, and 
farther, that the sacred assembly, in which the commun- 
ion of saints is celebrated, might be an additional spur to 
them. Nor am I inclined to admit the view taken by 
Chrysostom — that the term Sahhath is employed here to 
mean the Lord's clay (Rev. 1 : 10), for the probability is, 
that the apostles, at the beginning, retained the day that 
was already in use, but that afterwards, constrained by 
the superstition of the Jews, they set aside that day, and 
substituted another. Now the Lord's day was made 
choice of chiefly because our Lord's resurrection put an 
end to the shadows of the law. Hence the day itself 
puts us in mind of our Christian liberty."^ 

These words are very remarkable. They show 

1 Calvin's Commentarj on Acts 20 :7. 

2 Calvin's Commentary on 1 Cor. 16 : 2. ^Id. lb. 


first, that by the Sabbath day Calvin means, not 
the fii'st day, but the seventh; second, that in 
his judgment as late as the time of this epistle, 
and of the meeting at Troas [A. D. 60], the Sab- 
bath was the day for the sacred assemblies of 
the Christians, and for the celebration of the 
communion ; third, " but that afterwards, con- 
set aside that day, and substituted another." 

Calvin did not therefore believe that Christ 
changed the Sabbath to Sunday to commemorate 
his resurrection ; for he says that the resurrection 
abolished the Sabbath,^ and yet he believes that 
the Sabbath was the sacred day of the Christians 
to tlie entire exclusion of Sunday as late as the 
year GO. Nor could he believe that the apostles 
set apart Sunday to commemorate the resurrec- 
tion of Christ, for he thinks that they did not 
make choice of that day till after the year 60, 
and even then they did it merely because con- 
strained so to do by the superstition of the Jews ! 

Dr. Hessey illustrates Calvin's ideas of Sunday 
observance by the following incident : — 

" Knox was the intimate friend of Calvin — visited Cal- 
vin, and, it is said, on one occasion found him enjoying 
the recreation of bowls on Sunday. "- 

Without doubt Calvin was acting in exact har- 
mony with his ideas of the nature of the Sunday 
festival. But the famous case of Michael Ser- 
vetus furnishes us a still more pointed illustra- 

> Calvin's Institutes, book ii. chap. viii. sect. "A. 

^Hesscy's Bampton Lectures on Sunday, p. 201, ed. 1800. In 
tlic notes appended, p. 300, he says : "At Geneva a tradition 
exists, that wlien John Knox visited Calvin on a Sunday, he 
found his austere coadjulor bowling on a green." Dr. Hessey 
evideiiMv creiblcd tills tradition. 


tion of his views of the sacredness of that day. 
Servetus was arrested in Geneva on the personal 
application of John Calvin to the magistrates of 
that city. Such is the statement of Theodore 
Beza, the life-long friend of Calvin.^ Beza's 
translator adds to this fact the following remark- 
able statement : — 

" Promptness induced him to have this heresiarch ar- 
rested on a Sunday." - 

The same fact is stated by Robinson : — ^ 

' ' While he waited for a boat to cross the lake in his 
way to Zurich, by some means Calvin got intelligence of 
his arrival ; and although it was on a Sunday, yet he pre- 
vailed upon the chief syndic to arrest and imprison him. 
On that day by the laws of Geneva no person could be 
arrested except for a capital crime ; but this difficulty 
was easily removed, for John Calvin pretended that Ser- 
vetus was a heretic, and that heresy was a capital crime. "^ 

' ' The doctor was arrested and imprisoned on Sunday 
the thirteenth of August [a. d. 1553]. That very day he 
was brought into court."* 

Calvin's own words respecting the arrest are 

these : — 

" I will not deny but that he was made prisoner upon 
my application." ^ 

The warmest friends of first-day sacredness 
will not deny that the least sinful part of this 
transaction was that it occurred on Sunday. 
Nevertheless the fact that Calvin caused the ar- 
rest of Servetus on that day shows that he had 
no conviction that the day possessed any inher- 
ent sacredness. 

John Barclay,^ a learned man of Scotch descent, 

1 Beza's Life of Calvin, Sibson's Translation, p. 55, ed. 1836. 

2 Id. p. 115. 3jEcc1. Researches, chap. x. p. 338. 

* Id. p. 33l». 5 Beza's Life of Calvin, p. 1G8. 

^M'Clintock and Strong's Cyclopedi;), vol. i. p. *>(>:"!. 

Sahbath Historv. :i« 


and a moderate Roman Catholic, who was born 
soon after the death of Calvin, and whose early 
life was spent in eastern France, not very remote 
from Geneva, published the statement that Cal- 
vin and his friends at Geneva 

" Debated whether the reformed, for the purpose of 
estranging themsehxs more completely from the Romish 
church, should not adopt Thursday as the Christian Sab- 

Anoijier reason assigned by Calvin for this 
proposed change was, 

" That it would be a proper instance of Christian lib- 

This statement has been credited by many 
learned Protestants,^ some of whom must be ac- 
knowledged as men of candor and judgment. 
But Dr. Twisse^ discredits Barclay because he did 
not name the individuals Tvith whom Calvin con- 
sulted, and produce them as witnesses ; and be- 
cause that King James I. of England at one time 
suspected Barclay of treachery toward him. But 
no such crime w^as ever proved, nor does it ap- 
pear that the king continued always to hold him 
in that light.^ His veracity has never been im- 

1 Hessey, p. 341, gives a clue to the title of Barclay's work. It 
was Paraenesis ad Sectaries hujus teniporis, lib. 1, cap. 13, p. 160, 
Rome, 1617. 

2 See Heylyn's Hist, of the Sabbath, part ii. chapter vi. sect. 8 ; 
Morer's Lord's Day, pp. 210, 217, 228 ; An Inquiry into the Origin 
of Septenary Institutions, p. 55 ; The Modern Sabbath Exam- 
ined, p. 26, Whitaker, Treacher, and Arnot, London, 1832; Cox's 
Sabbath Literature, vol. i. pp. 165, 160 ; Hessey, pp. 141, 142, 
108, 341, and the authors there cited. 

3 Morality of the Fourth Commandment, pp. 32, 36, 39, 40. 

< In fact, the story told by Twisse that Barclay is not to be be- 
lieved in what he says of Calvin because he was treacherous toward 
King James I., who for that reason would not promote him at his 
court, appears to be wholly unfounded. The Encyclopedia 
Britannica, vol. iv., p. 400, eighth edition, assigns a very different 
reason. It says : "In those days a pension bestowed upon a Scot- 


peached. The statement of Barclay may possi- 
bly be incorrect, but it is not inconsistent with 
Calvin's doctrine that the church is not tied to a 
festival that should come once in seve.n days, even 
as Tyndale said that they could change the Sab- 
bath into Monday or could " make every tenth 
day holy day, only if we see cause why," and it is 
in perfect harmony with Ca-lvin's idea of Sunday 
sacredness as shown in his acts akeady noticed. 
Like the other reformers, Calvin is not always 
consistent with himself in his statements. Nev- 
ertheless, we have his judgment concerning the 
several texts which are used to prove the change 
of the Sabbath, and also respecting the theory 
that the commandment may be used to enforce, 
not the seventh day, but one day in seven, and 
it is fatal to the modern first-day doctrine. 

John Knox, the great Scottish reformer, was 
theinirmate friend of Calvin, with whom he 
lived at Geneva during a portion of his exile from 
Scotland. Though the foundation of the Presby- 
terian church of Scotland w^as laid by Knox, or 
rather by Calvin, for Knox carried out Calvin's 
system, and though that church is now very strict 
in the observance of Sunday as the Sabbath, yet 
Knox himself was of Calvin's mind as to the ob- 

tish papist would bave been numbered among tbe national griev- 
ances." Tbat is to say, public opinion would not then tolerate the 
promotion of a Romanist. But this writer believes that the king 
secretly favored Barclay. Thus on page 440 he adds : " Although 
it does not appear that he obtained any regular provision from 
the king, we may perhaps suppose that he at least received occa- 
sional gratuities." This writer knew nothing of Barclay as a de- 
tected spy at the king's court. Of his standing as a man, he says 
on p. 441 : " If there had been any remarkable blemish in the 
morals of Barclay, some of his numerous adversaries would have 
pointed it out." M'Clintock and Strong's Cyclopedia, vol. 1, p. 
663, says that he "would doubtless have succeeded at court had 
he not been a Romanist." See also Knight's Cyclopedia of Biogra- 
phy, article Barclay. 


ligation of that day. The original Confession of 
Faith of that church was drawn up by Knox in 
A. D. 1560.^ In that document Knox states the 
duties of the first table of the law as follows : — 

" To have one God, to worship and honor him ; to call 
upon him in all our troubles ; to reverence his holy name ; 
to hear his word ; to believe the same ; to communicate 
with his holy sacraments, are the works of the first ta- 
ble. "= 

It is plain that Knox believed the Sabbath 
commandment to have been stricken out of the 
first table. Dr. Hessey, after speaking of certain 
references to Sunday in a subsequent work of his, 
makes this statement respecting the present doc- 
trine of the Sabbath in the Presbyterian church :— 

" On the whole, whatever the language held at present 
in Scotland may be, it is certainly not owing to the great 
man whom the Scotch regard as the apostle of the Refor- 
mation in their country." ^ 

That church now holds Sunday to be the di- 
vinely authorized memorial of the resurrection of 
Christ, enforced by the authority of the fourth 
•commandment. But not thus was it held by 
Calvin and Knox. A British writer states the 
condition of things with respect to Sunday in 
Scotland about the year 1601 : — 

" At the commencement of the seventeenth century, 
tailors, shoemakers, and bakers in Aberdeen were accus- 
tomed to work till eight or nine every Sunday morning. 
While violation of the prescribed ritual observances was 
punished by fine, the exclusive consecration of the Sun- 
day which subsequently prevailed was then unknown. 
Indeed, there were regular * play Sundays ' in Scotland 
till the end of the sixteenth century. " * 

■^> Cox's Sabbath Laws, &c. p. 123; M'Clintock and Strong's 
Cycloptdia, vol. v. pn. l-ST-Hn. 

'Quoted in Ilesscv s Hampton liCctures, p. '200. 

» Id. p. -Ji'l. ' « Wt>s(min8ter Ktniew, Julv, IMs, p -T. 


But the Presbyterian cliurch, after Knox's time, 
effected an entire change with respect to Sunday- 
observance. The same writer says : — 

" The Presbyterian Kirk introduced into Scotland the 
Judaical observance of the Sabbath [Sunday], retaining 
with some inconsistency the Sunday festival of the Cath- 
olic church, while rejecting all the other feasts which its 
authority had consecrated."^ 

Dr. Hessey shows the method of doing this. 
He says : — 

" Of course some difficulties had to be got over. The 
' Sabbath was the seventh day, Sunday was the first day 
of the week. But an ingenious theory that one day in 
seven was the essence of the fourth commandment speed- 
/ ily reconciled them to this."' 

The circumstances under which this new doc- 
trine was framed, the name of its author, and the 
date of its publication, will be given in their 
place. That the body of the reformers should 
have failed to recognize the authority of the 
fourth commandment, and that they did not 
turn men from the Romish festivals to the Sab- 
bath of the Lord, is a matter of regret rather 
than of surprise. The impropriety of making 
them the standard of divine truth is forcibly set 
forth in the following language : — 

" Luther and Calvin reformed many abuses, especially 
in the discipline of the church, and also some gross cor- 
ruptions in doctrine; but they left other things of far 
greater moment just as they found them. ... It was 
great merit in them to go as far as they did, and it is not 
they but we who are to blame if their authority induce 
us to go no further. We should rather imitate them in 
the boldness and spirit with which they called in ques- 
tion and rectified so many long-established errors ; and 
availing ourselves of their labors, make further progress 

1 Westminster Review, July, 1858, p. 37. » Hessey p. 203. 


tlian they were able to do. Little reason have we to al- 
lege their name, authoritj', and example, when they did a 
great deal and we do nothing at all. In this we are not 
imitating them, but those who opposed and counteracted 
them, willing to keep tilings as they v;ere."^ 



Tlie case of Carlstadt worthy of notice — His difficulty with 
Luther respecting the Epistle of Jaraes — His boldness in 
standing with Luther against the pope — What Carlstadt 
did dui'ing Luther's captivity — How far he came under 
fanaticism — Who acted with Carlstadt in the removal of 
images from the churches, the suppression of masses, and 
the abolition of the law of celibacy — Luther on returning 
restored the mass and suppressed the simple ordinance of 
the supper — Caidstadt submitted to Luther's correction — 
After two years, Carlstadt felt constrained to oppose Lu- 
ther respecting the supper — The grounds of their differ- 
ence respecting the Reformation — Luther said Christ's 
flesh and blood were literally present in the bread and 
wine — Carlstadt said they were simply represented by 
them — The controversy which followed — Carlstadt refuted 
by banishment — His cruel treatment in exile — He was not 
connected with the disorderly conduct of the Anabaptists 
— Why Carlstadt has been so harshly judged — D'Aubignc's 
estimate of this controversy— Carlstadt's labors in Switzer- 
land — Luther writes against him — Luther and Carlstadt 
reconciled — D'Aubignc's estimate of Carlstadt as a scholar 
and a Christian — Carlstadt a Sabbatarian — Wherein Lu- 
ther benefited Carlstadt — Wherein Luther might have been 
benefited by Carlstadt. 

It is worthy of notice that at least one of the 
reformers of considerable prominence — Carlstadt 
— was a Sabbatarian. It is impossible to read 

1 Dr. Priestly, as quoted in Cox's " Sabbath Laws," p. 'JOO. 


the records of the Reformation without the con- 
viction that Carlstadt was desirous of a more 
thorough work of i-eformation than was Luther, 
And that while Luther was disposed to tolerate 
certain abuses lest the Reformation should be en- 
dangered, Carlstadt was at all hazards for a com- 
plete return to the Holy Scriptures. 

The Sabbatarian principles of Carlstadt, his 
intimate connection with Luther, his prominence 
in the early history of the Reformation, and the 
important bearing of Luther's decision concern- 
ing the Sabbath upon the entire history of the 
Protestant church, render the former worthy of 
notice in the history of the Sabbath. We shall 
give his record in the exact words of the best 
historians, none of whom were in sympathy with 
his observance of the seventh day. The manner 
in which they state his faults shows that they 
were not partial toward him. Shortly after Lu- 
ther began to preach against the merit of good 
works, his deep interest in the work of deliver- 
ing men from popish thralldom led him to deny 
the inspiration of some portion of those script- 
ures which were quoted against him. Dr. Sears 
thus states the case : — 

*' Luther was so zealous to maintain tlie doctrine of 
justification by faith, that he was prepared even to call 
in question the authority of some portions of Scripture, 
which seemed to him not to be reconcilable with it. To 
the Epistle of James, especially, his expressions indicate 
the strongest repugnance."^ 

Before Luther's captivity in the castle of Wart- 
burg, a dispute had arisen between himself and 
Carlstadt on this very subject. It is recorded of 
Carlstadt that in the year 1520, 

1 Life of Luther by Barnas Sears, D. D., larger ed, pp. 4<»!'>, 4"1. 


" He published a treatise * Concerning the Canon of 
Scripture/ which, although defaced by bitter attacks on 
Luther, was nevertheless an able work, setting forth the 
great principle of Protestantism, viz., the paramount au- 
thority of Scripture. He also at this time contended for 
the authority of the Epistle of St. James, against Luther. 
On the publication of the bull of Leo X. against the re- 
formers, Carlstadt showed a real and honest courage in 
standing firm with Luther. His work on ' Papal Sanc- 
tity ' (1520) attacks the infallibility of the pope on the ba- 
sis of the Bible. "^ 

Luther, as is well known, while returning from 
the Diet of Worms, was seized by the agents of 
the Elector of Saxony, and hidden from his ene- 
mies in Wartburg Castle. We read of Carlstadt 
at this time as follows : — 

''In 1521, during Luther's confinement in the Wart- 
burg, Carlstadt had almost sole control of the reform 
movement at Wittemberg, and was supreme in the uni- 
versity. He attacked monachism and celibacy in a treat- 
ise 'Concerning Celibacy, Monachism, and Widowhood.' 
His next point of assault was the Mass, and a riot of stu- 
dents and young citizens against the Mass soon followed. 
On Christmas, 1521, he gave the sacrament in both kinds 
to the laity, and in German ; and in January, 1522, he 
married. His headlong zeal led him to do whatever he 
came to believe right, at once and arbitrarily. But he 
soon outran Luther, and one of his great mistakes was in 
putting the Old Testament on the same footing as the 
New. On Jan. 24, 1522, Carlstadt obtained the adoption 
of a new church constitution at Wittemberg, which is of 
interest only as the first Protestant organization of the 

There were present at this time in Wittem- 
berg certain fanatical teachers, who, from the 
town whence they came, were called " the proph- 
ets of Zwickau." They brought Carlstadt for a 
time so far under their influence, that he con- 

» M'Clintock and Strong's Cyclopedia, vol. ii. p. 123. » Id. lb 


eluded academical degrees to be sinful, and that, 
as the inspiration of the Spirit was sufficient, 
there was no need of human learning. He there- 
fore advised the students of the university to 
return to their homes.^ That institution was in 
danger of dissolution. Such was Carlstadt's 
course in Luther's absence. With the exception 
of this last movement, his acts were in them- 
selves right. 

The changes made at Wittemberg during Lu- 
ther's absence, whether timely or not, are gener- 
ally set down to Carlstadt's account, and said to 
have been made by him on his individual re- 
sponsibility, and in a fanatical manner. But 
this was quite otherwise. Dr. Maclaine thus 
states the case : — 

*'The reader may perhaps imagine, from Dr. Mos- 
heim's account of this matter, that Carlstadt introduced 
these changes merely by his own authority ; but this was 
far from being the case ; the suppression of private mass- 
es, the removal of images out of the churches, the aboli- 
tion of the law which imposed celibacy upon the clergy ; 
which are the changes hinted at by our historian as rash 
and perilous, were effected by Carlstadt, in conjunction 
with Bugenhagius, Melancthon, Jonas Amsdorf, and 
others, and were confirmed by the authority of the Elec- 
tor of Saxony ; so that there is some reason to apprehend 
that one of the principal causes of Luther's displeasure 
at these changes, was their being introduced in his ab- 
sence ; unless we suppose that he had not so far shaken 
off the fetters of superstition, as to be sensible of the 
absurdity and the pernicious consequences of the use of 

Carlstadt had given the cup to the lait}^ of 
which they had long been deprived by Rome. 

J D'Aubigne's Hist, of the Ref. book ix. 

2Mosheim's Church Hist book iv. cent. xvi. sect. 8, part ii. 
paragraph 22, note. 


He had set aside the worship of the consecrated 
bread. Dr. Sears rehearses this work of Carl- 
stadt, and then tells us what Luther did concern- 
ino- it on his return. These are his words : — 


"He [Carlstadt] had so far restored the sacrament of 
the Lord's supper as to distribute the wine as well as the 
bread to the laity. Luther, ' in order not to offend weak 
consciences,' insisted on distributing the bread only, 
and prevailed. He [Carlstadt] rejected the practice of 
elevating and adoring the host. Luther allowed it, and 
introduced it again." ^ 

The position of Carlstadt was at this time very 
trj'ing. He had not received "many things 
taught by the new teachers " from Zwickau. But 
he had publicly taught some of their fanatical 
ideas relative to the influence of the Spirit of 
God superseding the necessity of study. But in 
the suppression of the idolatrous services of the 
Romanists, he was essentially right. He had the 
pain to see much of this set up again. Moreover 
the elector would not allow him either to preach 
or write upon the points wherein he differed from 
Luther. D'Aubign^ states his course thus : — 

''Nevertheless, he sacrificed his self-love for the sake 
of peace, restrained his desire to vindicate his doctrine, 
was reconciled, at least in appearance, to his colleague 
[Luther], and soon after resumed his studies in the uni- 

As Luther taught some doctrines which Carl- 
stadt could not approve, he felt at last that he 
must speak. Dr. Sears thus writes : — 

'"After Carlstadt had been compelled to keep silence, 
from 1522 to 1524, and to submit to the superior power 
and authority of Luther, he could contain himself no 

» Life of Luther, p. 401. 

-D'Aubigne's Hist. Ref. book ix. p. 282. I use the excellent 
one-volume eilition of Porter and Coatcs. 


lonejer. He, therefore, left Wittemberg, and established 
a press at Jena, through which he could, in a series of 
publications, give vent to his convictions, so long pent 

The principles at the foundation of their ideas 
of the Reformation were tliese : Carlstadt insisted 
on rejecting everything in the Catholic church 
not authorized in the Bible ; Luther was deter- 
mined to retain everything not expressly forbid- 
den. Dr. Sears thus states their primary differ- 
ences : — 

''Carlstadt maintained, that 'we should not, in things 
pertaining to God, regard what the multitude say or 
think, but look simply to the word of God. Others,' he 
adds, ' say that, on account of the weak, we should not 
hasten to keep the commands of God ; but wait till they 
become wise and strong.' In regard to the ceremonies 
introduced into the church, he judged as the Swiss re- 
formers did, that all were to be rejected which had not a 
warrant in the Bible. ' It is sufficiently against the Script- 
ures if you can find no ground for it in them.' 

"Luther asserted, on the contrary, ' Whatever is not 
against the Scriptures is for the Scriptures, and the Script- 
ures for it. Though Christ hath not commanded ador- 
ing of the host, so neither hath he forbidden it.' ' Not 
so,' said Carlstadt, ' we are bound to the Bible, and no 
one may decide after the thoughts of his own heart.' " " 

It is of interest to know what was the subject 
which caused the controversy between them, and 
what was the position of each. Dr. Maclaine 
thus states the occasion of the conflict which 
now arose : — 

" This difference of opinion between Carlstadt and Lu- 
ther concerning the eucharist, was the true cause of the 
violent rupture between those two eminent men, and it 
tended very little to the honor of the latter ; for, however 
the explication, which the former gave of the words of the 
institution of the Lord's supper, may appear forced, yet 

I Life of Luther, pp. 402, 40;). 2 id. pp. 401, 402. 


the sentiments he entertained of that ordinance as a com- 
memoration of Christ's death, and not as a celebration of 
his bodily presence, in consequence of a consubstantiation 
with the bread and wine, are infinitely more rational 
than the doctrine of Luther, which is loaded with some 
of the most palpable absurdities of transubstantiation ; 
and if it be supposed that Carlstadt strained the rule of 
interpretation too far, when he alleged, that Christ pro- 
nounced the pronoun this (in the words This is my body) 
pointing to his body, and not to the bread, what shall we 
think of Luther's explaining the nonsensical doctrine of 
consubstantiation by the similitude of a red-hot iron, in 
which two elements are united, as the body of Christ is 
with the bread of the eucharist ? " ^ 

Dr. Sears also states the occasion of this con- 
flict in 1524:— 

" The most important difierence between him and Lu- 
ther, and that which most embittered the latter against 
him, related to the Lord's supper. He opposed not only 
transubstantiation, but consubstantiation, the real pres- 
ence, and the elevation and adoration of the host. Luther 
rejected the first, asserted the second and third, and al- 
lowed the other two. In regard to the real presence, he 
says : ' In the sacrament is the real body of Christ and 
the real blood of Christ, so that even the unworthy and 
ungodly partake of it ; and "partake of it corporally" 
too, and not spiritually as Carlstadt will have it.' "^ 

That Luther was the one chiefly in error in 
this controversy will be acknowledged by nearly 
every one at the present day. D'Aubign^ cannot 
refrain from censuring him : — 

" When once the question of the supper was raised, 
Luther threw away the proper element of the Reformation, 
and took his stand for himself and his church in an exclu- 
sive Lutheranism" ^ 

» Moshcim's Hist, of the Church, book iv. cent. xvi. sect. 3, 
part ii, paragraph 22, note. 
2 Life of Luther, p. 402. 
" IVAubigne's Hist, of Ref. book x. p. 012. 


The controversy is thus characterized by Dr. 
Sears : — 

" A furious controversy ensued. Both parties exceed- 
ed the bounds of Christian propriety and moderation. 
Carlstadt was now in the vicinity of the Anabaptist tu- 
mults, excited by Muntzer. He sympathized with them 
in some things, but disapproved of their disorders. Lu- 
ther made the most of this." ^ 

It is evident that in this contest Luther did 
not gain any decisive advantage, even in the es- 
timation of his friends. The Elector of Saxony 
interfered and banished Carlstadt ! D'Aubigne 
thus states the case : — 

^' He issued orders to deprive Carlstadt of his appoint- 
ments, and banished him, not only from Orlamund, but 
from the States of the electorate."" 

' •' Luther had nothing to do with this sternness on the 
part of the prince : it was foreign to his disposition, — and 
this he afterward proved." ^ 

Carlstadt, for maintaining the doctrine now held 
by almost all Protestants, concerning the supper, 
and for denying Luther's doctrine that Christ is 
personally present in the bread, was rendered a 
homeless wanderer for years. His banishment 
was in 1524. What followed is thus described: — 

* ' From this date until 1534 he wandered through 
Germany, pursued by the persecuting opinions of both 
Lutherans and Papists, and at times reduced to great 
straits by indigence and unpopularity. But, although he 
always found sympathy and hospitality among the Ana- 
baptists, yet he is evidently clear of the charge of com- 
plicity with Muntzer's rebellion. Yet he was forbidden 
to write, his life was sometimes in danger, and he exhib- 
its the melancholy spectacle of a man great and right in 
many respects, but whose rashness, ambition, and in- 
sincere zeal, together with many fanatical opinions, had 

' Life of Luther, n. 40;3. 

2])'Anbigne's Hisf. "Rtf. book x. pp. "1-i, 315. "Id. Th. 


put liiia under the well-founded but immoderate censure 
of both friends and foes."^ 

Sucli language seems quite unwaiTanted by the 
facts. There was no justice in this persecution 
of Carlstadt. He did for a brief time hold some 
fanatical ideas, but these he did not afterward 
maintain. The same writer speaks further in the 
same strain : — 

" It cannot be denied that in many respects he was ap- 
parently in advance of Luther, but his error lay in his 
haste to subvert and abolish the external forms and 
pomps before the hearts of the people, and doubtless his 
own, were prepared by an internal change. Biographies 
of him are numerous, and the Reformation no doubt owes 
him much of good for which he has not the credit, as it 
was overshadowed by the mischief he produced." - 

Important truth relative to the services of 
Carlstadt is here stated, but it is connected with 
intimations of evil which have no sufficient foun- 
dation in fact. Dr. Sears speaks thus of the bit- 
ter lano^uage concerninor him : — 

"For three centuries, Carlstadt's moral character has 
been treated somewhat as Luther's would have been, if 
only Catholic testimony had been heard. The party in- 
terested has been both witness and judge. What if we 
were to judge of Zwingle's Cliristian character by Lu- 
ther's representations? The tnith is, Carlstadt hardly 
showed a worse spirit, or employed more abusive terms 
toward Luther, than Luther did toward him. Carlstadt 
knew that in many things the truth was on his side ; and 
yet, in these, no less than in others, he was crushed by 
the civil power, which was on the side of Luther."" 

D'Aubign(3 speaks thus of the contest between 
these two men : — 

"Each turns against the error which, to his mind, 
seems most noxious, and in assailing it, goes — it may be 

> M'Clintock and Strong's Cvclopedia, vol. ii. p. 123. 

* Id. lb. ' 3 Life of Luther, p. 400. 


— beyond the truth. But this being admitted, it is still 
true that both are right in the x>revailing turn of theii* 
thoughts, and though ranking in different hosts, the two 
great teachers are nevertheless found under the same 
standard — that of Jesus Christ, who alone is truth in 
the full import of that word."^ 

D'Aubigne says of them after Carlstadt had 
been banished : — 

"It is impossible not to feel a pain at contemplating 
these two men, once friends, and both worthy of our es- 
teem, thus angrily opposed."" 

Sometime after Carlstadt's banishment from 
Saxony he visited Switzerland. D'Aubigne speaks 
of the ]'esult of his labors in that country, and 
what Luther did toward him : — 

"His instructions soon attracted an attention nearly 
equal to that which had been excited by the earliest theses 
put forth by Luther, Switzerland seemed almost gained 
over to his doctrine. Bucer and Capito also appeared to 
adopt his views. 

' ' Then it was that Luther's indignation rose to its 
hight ; and he put forth one of the most powerful but al- 
so most OUTRAGEOUS of liis controversial writings, — his 
book ' Against the Celestial Prophets.^ " ^ 

Dr. Sears also mentions the labors of Carlstadt 
in Switzerland, and speaks of Luther's uncandid 
book : — 

' ' The work which he Avrote against him, he entitled 
' The book against the Celestial Prophets.' This was un- 
candid ; for the controversy related chiefly to the sacra- 
ment of the supper. In the south of Germany and in 
Switzerland, Carlstadt found more adherents than Luther. 
Banished as an Anabaptist, he was received as a Zwing- 

Dr. Maclaine tells something which followed, 

1 D'Aubigne's Hist. Ref. book x. p. 312. 

2 Id. book X. p. 315. 

3 Hist. Ref. book x. p. 315. ■♦ Life of Luther, p. 403. 


which is worthy of the better nature of these two 
illustrious men : — 

"Carlstadt, after his banishment from Saxony, composed 
a treatise against enthusiasm in general, and against the 
extravagant tenets and the violent proceedings of the Ana- 
baptists in particular. This treatise was even addressed 
to Luther, who was so affected by it, that, repenting of 
his unworthy treatment of Carlstadt, he pleaded his cause, 
and obtained from the elector a permission for him to re- 
turn into Saxony."^ 

' ' After this reconciliation with Luther, he composed a 
treatise on the eucharist, which breathes the most amiable 
spirit of moderation and humility ; and having perused 
the writings of Zwingle, where he saw his own sentiments 
on that subject maintained with the- greatest perspicuity 
and force of evidence, he repaired the second time to Zu- 
rich, and thence to Basil, where he was admitted to the 
offices of pastor and professor of divinity, and where, aft- 
er having lived in the exemplary and constant practice of 
every Christian virtue, he died, amidst the warmest effu- 
sions of piety and resignation, on the 25th of December, 
1541." = 

Of Carlstadt's scholarship, and of his conscien- 
tiousness, D'Aubigne speaks thus : — 

'' 'He was well acquainted,' says Dr. Scheur, 'with Lat- 
in, Greek, and Hebrew ; ' and Luther acknowledged him to 
be his superior in learning. Endowed with great powers 
of mind, he sacrificed to his convictions fame, station, 
country, and even his bread. "^ 

His Sabbatarian character is attested by Dr. 
White, lord bishop of Ely :— 

* ' The same [the observance of the seventh day] like- 
wise being revived in Luther's time by Carolastadius, 
Stemebergius, and by some sectaries among the Anabap- 

1 Mosheim's Church Hist, book iv. cent. 1(5, sect. 3, part ii. para- 
j^ranh 2-2, note. 

^ Id. lb. Very nearly the same statement is made by l)u Pin, 
tome i:i, chap. li. section 2<">, p. l"'-'"!, a. d. IT"". 

•'Hist. Rof. book x. p. :>1.^. 


iists hath both then and ever since been censured as Jew- 
ish and heretical." ^ 

Dr. Sears alludes to Carlstadt's observance of 
the seventh day, but as is quite usual with first- 
day historians in such cases, does it in such a 
manner as to leave the fact sufficiently obscure 
to be passed over without notice by the general 
reader. He writes thus : — 

' ' Carlstadt differed essentially from Luther in regard 
to the use to be made of the Old Testament. With him, 
the law of Moses was still binding. Luther, on the con- 
trary, had a strong aversion to what he calls a legal and 
Judaizing religion. Carlstadt held to the divine authori- 
ty of the Sabbath from the Old Testament ; Luther be- 
lieved Christians were free to observe any day as a Sab- 
bath, provided they be uniform in observing it." - 

We have, however, Luther's own statement re- 
specting Carlstadt's views of the Sabbath. It is 
from his book "Against the Celestial Prophets:" — 

" Indeed, if Carlstadt were to write further about the 
Sabbath, Sunday would have to give way, and the Sab- 
bath — that is to say, Saturday — must be kept holy ; he 
would truly make us Jews in all things, and we should 
come to be circumcised : for that is true, and cannot be 
denied, that he who deems it necessary to keep one law 
of Moses, and keeps it as the law of Moses, must deem all 
necessary, and keep them all."^ 

The various historians who treat of the diffi- 
culty between Luther and Carlstadt, speak freety 
of the motives of each. But of such matters it is 
best to speak little ; the day of Judgment will 
show the hearts of men, and v^^e must wait till 
then. We may, however, freely speak of their 

» Treatise of the Sabbath Day, p. 8. 

2 Life of Luther, p. 402. 

3 Quoted in the Life of Martin Luther in Pictures, p. M7, Phila- 
delphia, J. W. Moore, 105 Chestnut street. 

Sal.Lath nistury. :iO 


acts, and may with propriety name tiic things 
wherein each would have benefited the other. 
Carlstadt's errors at Wittemberg were not because 
he rejected Luther's help, but because he was de- 
prived of it by Luther's captivity. Luther's er- 
ror in those things wherein Carls tadt was right 
were because he saw it best to reject Carlstadt's 

1. Carlstadt's error in the removal of the im- 
ages, the suppression of masses, the abolition of 
monastic vows, or vows of celibacy, and in giving 
the wine as well as the bread in the supper, and 
in performing the service in German instead of 
Latin, if it was an error, was one of time rather 
than of doctrine. Had Luther been with him, 
probably all would have been deferred for some 
months or perhaps some years. 

2. Carlstadt would probably have been saved 
by Luther's presence from coming under the in- 
fluence of the Zwickau prophets. As it was, he 
did for a brief season accept, not their teaching in 
general, but their doctrine that the inspiration 
of the Holy Spirit in believers renders human 
learning vain and worthless. But in both these 
things Carlstadt submitted to Luther's correction. 
Had Luther regarded Carlstadt, he would have 
been benefited in the following particulars : — 

L In his zeal for the doctrine of justification 
by faith, he would have been saved from the de- 
nial of the inspiration of the epistle of James, 
and would not have called it a " strawy or chaffy 
epistle." ^ 

2. Instead of exchanoring transubstantiation, 
which is the Romish doctrine that the bread and 

» M'Clintock and Strong, vol. ii. p. 123 ; Dr. A. Clarke's Com- 
mentnry, jircfnce to .Tames. 


wine of the supper become Christ's literal flesh 
and blood, for consubstantiation, the doctrine 
which he fastened upon the Lutheran church 
that Christ's flesh and blood are actually present 
ill the bread and wine, he would have given to 
that church the doctrine that the bread and wine 
simply represent the body and blood of Christ, 
and are used in commemoration of his sacrifice 
for our sins. 

3. Instead of holding fast every thing in the 
Romish church not expressly forbidden in the 
Bible, he would have laid all aside which had 
not the actual sanction of that holy book. 

4. Instead of the Catholic festival of Sunday, 
he would have observed and transmitted to the 
Protestant church the ancient Sabbath of the 

Carlstadt needed Luther's help, and he accepted 
it. Did not Luther also need that of Carl- 
stadt ? Is it not time that Carlstadt should be 
vindicated from the great obloquy thrown upon 
him by the prevailing party ? And would not 
this have been done long since had not Carlstadt 
been a decided Sabbatarian ? 



The judgment of the martyr Frith — The Reformation brings 
Sabbath-keepers to light in various countries — In Tran- 
sylvania — In Bohemia — In Russia — In Germany — In Hol- 
land — In France — In England. 

John Frith, an English reformer of considera- 
ble note and a martyr, was converted by the la- 


bors of Tyndale about 1525, and assisted him in 
the translation of the Bible. He was burned at 
Smithfield, July 4, 1533. He is spoken of in the 
highest terms by the historians of the English 
Reformation.^ His views respecting the Sabbath 
and first-day are thus stated by himself: — 

"• The Jews have the word of God for their Saturday, 
sitli [since] it is the seventh day, and they were com- 
manded to keep the seventh day solemn. And we have 
not the word of God for us, but rather against us ; for we 
keep not the seventh day, as the Jews do, but the first, 
which is not commanded by God's law."^ 

When the Reformation had lifted the vail of 
darkness that covered the nations of Europe, 
Sabbath-keepers were found in Transylvania, 
Bohemia, Russia, Germany, Holland, France, and 
England. It was not the Reformation which 
gave existence to these Sabbatarians, for the 
leaders of the Reformation, as a body, were not 
friendly to such views. On the contrary, these 
observers of the Sabbath appear to be remnants 
of the ancient Sabbath-keeping churches that had 
witnessed for the truth durinor the Dark Ages. 

Transylvania, a country which now constitutes 
one of the ea^stern divisions of the Austrian Em- 
pire, was, in the sixteenth century, an independ- 
ent principality. About the middle of that 
century, the country was under the rule of Sig- 
ismund. The historian of the Baptists, Robinson, 
gives the following interesting record of events 
in that age and country : — 

' ' The prince received his first religious impressions 

iM'Clintock and Strong, vol. iii. p. 079; D'Aubigne's Hist. 
Ref. book xviii. np. 072, 080, 700, 7'i7 ; book xx. pp. 705, 700 ; 
Fox's Acts and Monuments, book viii. pp. r)24-ri27. 

a Frith's works, p. CI.*, quoted in llessey, p. I'JS. 


under his chaplain, Alexius, who was a Lutheran. On 
his removal he chose Francis Davidis to succeed him, and 
by him was further informed of the principles of the Ref- 
ormation. Davidis was a native of that extremely pop- 
ulous and well-fortified town which is called Coloswar by 
the natives, Clausenberg by the Germans, and by others, 
Claudiopolis. He was a man of learning, address, and 
piety, and reasoned in this part of his life more justly on 
the principles of the Reformation than many of his co- 
temi)oraries. In 1563 his highness invited several learned 
foreigners to come into Transylvania for the purpose of 
helping forward the Reformation.^ 

'* Several other foreigners, who had been persecuted 
elsewhere, sought refuge in this country, where persecu- 
tion for religion was unknown. These refugees were 
Unitarian Baptists, and through their indefatigable in- 
dustry and address, the prince, the greatest part of the 
senate, a great number of ministers, and a multitude 
of the people went heartily into their plan of Reforma- 

*'In the end the Baptists became by far the most nu- 
merous party, and were put in possession of a printing 
office, and an academy, and the cathedral was given to 
them for a place of worship. They obtained these without 
any violence, and while they formed their own churcheB 
according to the convictions of their members, they per- 
secuted nobody, but allowed the same liberty to others, 
and great numbers of Catholics, Lutherans and Calvin- 
ists resided in perfect freedom."" 

Mr. Robinson further informs us that Davidis 
took extreme Unitarian ground with respect to 
the worship of Christ, which seems to have been 
the only serious error that can be laid to his 
charge. Davidis was a Unitarian Baptist min- 
ister, intrusted by his brethren with the super- 
intendency of the churches in Transylvania. 
His influence in that country at one period was 
very great. His views of the Sabbath are thus 
stated : — 

1 Eccl. Researches, chap. xvi. p. G30. ^id^ 15. 3 id. p. nsi . 


" He supposed the Jewish Sabbath not abrogated, and 
he therefore kept holy the seventh day. He believed 
also the doctrine of the millennium, and like an honest 
man, what he believed he taught. He was considered by 
the Transylvanian churches as an apostle, and had grown 
gray in their service ; but the Catholics, the Lutherans, 
and the Calvinists, thought him a Turk, a blasphemer, 
and an atheist, and his Polish Baptist brethren said he 
was half a Jew. Had he been a whole Jew he ought not 
to have been imprisoned for his speculations. ^ 

" By what means the Supreme Searcher of hearts only 
knows, but by some methods till then unknown in Tran- 
sylvania, the old man was arrested, and by the senate 
condemned to die. He was imprisoned in the castle, and 
providence by putting a period to his life there, saved 
his persecutors from the disgrace of a public execution."" 

Mr. Robinson says that "many have been 
blamed " for the death of Davidis, " but perhaps 
the secret springs of this event may never be 
known till the Judge of the world maketh inqui- 
sition for blood." There were many Sabbata- 
rians in Transylvania at this time, for Mr. Rob- 
inson enumerates many persons of distinction 
who were of the same views with Davidis. The 
ambassador Bequessius, general of the arm}^; 
the princess, sister of prince John; the privy 
counselor, Chaquius, and the two Quendi ; general 
Andrassi, and many others of high rank ; Somer, 
the rector of the academy at Claudiopolis ; Mat- 
thias Glirius, Adam Neusner, and Christian 
Francken, a professor in the academy at Claudi- 

" These," says Robinson, "were all of the same senti- 
ments as Davidis, as were many more of different ranks, 
who after his death in prison, defended his opinion against 
Socinus. Pala;o]ogus was of the same mind ; he had fled 
into Moravia, but was caught by the emperor, at the re- 
quest of Pope Gregory XIV. , and carried to Rome, where 

'Keel. Researches, eliap. xvi p. ogc. ^m, pp. coo, 637. 


lie was burnt for a heretick. He was an old man, and 
was terrified at first into a recantation, but he recollected 
himself and submitted to his fate like a Christian.^ 

These persons must have been Sabbatarians. 
Moshiem, after saying that Davidis " left behind 
him disciples and friends, who strenuously main- 
tained his sentiments," adds : — 

^' The most eminent of these were Jacob Palteologus, of 
the isle of Ohio, who was burned at Rome in 1585 ; Chris- 
tian Francken, who had disputed in person with Socinus ; 
and John Somer, who was master of the academy of 
Clausenberg. This little sect is branded by the Socinian 
writers, with the ignominious appellation of Semi-Judai- 


We have a further record of Sabbatarians in 
Transylvania to tiie eftect that in the time of 

" John Gerendi [was] head of the Sabbatarians, a peo- 
ple who did not keep Sunday but Saturday, and whose 
discix)les took the name of Genoldists. "^ 

Sabbath -keepers, also, were found in Bohemia, 
a country of Central Europe, at the time of the 
Reformation. We are dependent upon those 
who despised their faith and practice for a 
knowledge of their existence. Erasmus speaks 
of them as follows : — 

" Now we hear that among the Bohemians a new kind 
of Jews has arisen called Sabbata,rians, who observe the 
Sabbath with so much superstition, that if on that day 
anything falls into their eyes they wilLnot remoA^e it ; as 
if the Lord's day would not suffice for them instead of 
the Sabbath, which to the apostles also was sacred ; or as 
if Christ had not sufficiently expressed how much should 
be allowed upon the Sabbath. " * 

1 Eccl. Researches, chap. xvi. p. 640. 

2Mosheim's Hist. Church, book iv. cent. 16, sect. 3, part ii. 
chap. iv. par. 23. 3 Lamy's History of Socmianism p. 60. 

•* " Xunc audimus apud Bohenios cxoi-iri novum Judgeorum gc- 


We need say nothing relative to the alleged su- 
perstition of these Sabbath-keepers. The state- 
ment sufficiently refutes itself, and indicates the 
bitter prejudice of those who speak of them thus. 
But that Sabbath-keepers were found at this 
time in Bohemia admits of no doubt. They 
were of some importance, and they must also 
have publislied their views to the world ; for 
Cox tells us that, 

" Hospinian of Zurich, in his treatise ' Concerning the 
.Feasts of the Jews and of the Gentiles,' chapter iii. (Tig- 
uri, 1592) replies to the arguments of these Sabbatari- 

The existence of this body of Sabbatarians in 
Bohemia at the time of the Reformation is strong 
presumptive proof that the Waldenses of Bo- 
hemia, noticed in the preceding chapter, though 
claimed as observers of Sunday, were actually 
observers of the ancient Sabbath. 

In Russia, the observers of the seventh day are 
numerous at the present time. Their existence 
can be traced back nearly to the year 1400. 
They are, therefore, at least one hundred years 
older than the work of Luther. The first writer 
that I quote speaks of them as " having left the 
Christian faith." But even in our time, it is very 
common for people to speak of those who turn 
from the first day to the seventh that they have 
renounced Christ for Moses.^ He also speaks of 

nus, Sabbatarios appellant, qui tanta superstitione servant Sab- 
batum, ut si c^uid eo die inciderit in ociilnm, nolint eximere ; 
quasi non sulhciat eis pro Sabbato Dies Dominicus, qui Apos- 
tolis etiain erat sacer, aut quasi Christns non satis expresserit 
quantum tribucn dum sit Sabbato." l)e Arnabili Ecclesiai Con- 
cordia ; Opera, tome 5, p. 50tj, Luijd. liat. 1704 ; quoted in Cox's 
Sabbath liiterature. vol. ii. pp. 201, 202 ; Hessey, p. o74. 

' ('ox, vol. ii. p. 202. 

" Sucli statements respecting the observers of the seventh day 


them as holding to circumcision. Even Carlstadt 
was charged with this by Luther as a necessary 
deduction from the fact that he observed the day 
enjoined in the fourth commandment. Such be- 
ins^ a common method of character! zins^ Sabbath- 
keepers in our time, and such also having been 
the case in past ages — for when men lack argu- 
ment, they use opprobrious terms — the historian, 
who makes up his record of these people from 
the statements of the popular party, will cer- 
tainly represent them as rejecting Christ and the 
gospel, and accepting instead Moses and tlie cer- 
emonial law. I give the statements of the his- 
torians as they are, and the reader must judge. 
Robert Pinkerton gives the followincj account of 
them : — 

' ' Seleznevtschini. This sect are, in modern time, pre- 
cisely what the Strigolniks originally were. They are 
Jews in principle ; maintain the divine obligation of cir- 
cumcision ; observe the Jewish Sabbath, and the ceremo- 
nial law. There are many of them about Tula, on the 
river Kuma, and in other provinces, and they are very 
numerous in Poland and Turkey, where, having left the 
Christian faith, they have joined the seed of Abraham, 
according to the flesh, in rejecting the Messiah and the 

The ancient Russian name of this people was 
Strigolniks. Dr. Murdock gives the following 
account of them : — 

" It is common to date the origin of sectarians in the 
Russian church, about the middle of the seventeenth cen- 

are very common. Even those who first commenced to keep the 
Sabbath in Newport were said to "have left Christ and gone to 
Moses in the observation of days, and times, and seasons, and 
such like." — Seventh-day Baptist Memorial, vol. i. p. 32. The 
pastor of the first-day Baptist church of Newport said to them: 
" I do judge you have and'still do deny Christ." — Id. p. 37. 

1 The Present State of the Greek Church in Russia, Appendix, 
p. 273, New York, 1815. 


tiny, in the time of the patriarch Nikon. But according 
to the Russian annals, there existed schismatics in the 
Russian church two hundred years before the days of 
Nikon ; and the disturbances which took place in his 
time, only proved the means of augmenting their num- 
bers, and of bringing them forward into public view. 
The earliest of these schismatics first appeared in Novo- 
gorod, early in the fifteenth century, under the name of 

* ' A Jew named Horie preached a mixture of Judaism 
and Christianity ; and proselyted two priests, Denis and 
Alexie, who gained a vast number of followers. This 
sect was so numerous, that a national council was called, 
towards the close of the fifteenth century, to oppose it. 
Soon afterwards, one Karp, an excommunicated deacon, 
joined th.Q Strigolniks ; and accused the higher clergy of 
selling the office of priesthood, and of so far corrupting 
the church, that the Holy Ghost was withdraw^l from it. 
He was a very successful propagator of this sect."^ 

It is very customary with historians to speak 
of Sabbath-keeping Christians in one of the fol- 
lowing ways : 1. To name their observance of the 
seventh day distinctly, but to represent them as 
turning from Christ to Moses and the ceremonial 
law ; or, 2. To speak of their Sabbatarian princi- 
ples in so vague a manner that the reader will 
not be likely to suspect them of being Sabbatli- 
keepers. Pinkerton speaks of these Eussian 
Sabbatli-keepers after the first of these methods ; 
Murdock, after the second. It is plain that Mur- 
dock did not regard these people as rejecting 
Christ, and it is certain from Pinkerton that the 
two writers are speaking of the same people. 

What was the origin of these Russian Sabbath- 
keepers ? Certainly it was not from the Refor- 
mation of the sixteenth century ; for they were 
in existence at least one century before that event. 

' Murdock's Moshcim, book iv. cent. xvii. sect. 2, part i. chap, 
ii. note 12. 


"VVe have seen 'that the Waldenses, durinof the 
Dark Ages, were dispersed through niany of the 
countries of Europe. And so also were the people 
called Cathari, if, indeed, the two were not one peo- 
ple. In particular, we note the fact that they were 
scattered through Poland, Lithuania, Sclavonia, 
Bulg:aria, Livonia, Albania, and Sarmatia.^ These 
countries are now parts of the Russian Empire. 
Sabbath-keepers were numerous in Russia before 
the time of Luther. The Sabbath of the Lord 
was certainly retained by many of the ancient 
Waldenses and Cathari, as we have seen. In 
fact, the very things said of the Russian Sabbath- 
keepers, that they held to circumcision and the 
ceremonial law, were also said of the Cathari, and 
of that branch of the Waldenses called Passagin- 
ians.^ Is there any reasonable doubt that in 
these ancient Christians we have the ancestors 
of the Russian Sabbath-keepers of the fifteenth 
century ? 

Mr. Maxson makes the followincr statement : — 

" We find that Sabbatli-keepers appear in Germany late 
in the fifteenth or early in the sixteenth century accord- 
ing to ' Ross's Picture of All Religions. ' By this we are to 
understand that their numbers were such as to lead to 
organization, and attract attention. A number of these 
formed a church, and emigrated to America, in the early 
settlement of this coimtry. " " 

Mr. Utter makes the following statement re- 
specting Sabbath-keepers in Germany and in 
Holland : — 

"Early in the sixteenth century there are traces of 
Sabbath-keepers in Germany. The Old Dutch Martyr- 
ology gives an account of a Baptist minister named 

1 See the twentv-first chapter of this work. 

2 Id. lb. ' 3 Maxson's Hist. Sab. p. 41. 


Stephen Benedict, somewhat famous for baptizing during 
a severe i^ersecution in Holland, who is supposed by good 
autliorities to have kept the seventh day as the Sabbath. 
One of the persons baptized by him was Barbary von 
Thiers, wife of Hans Borzen, who was executed on the 
IGtli of September, 1529. At her trial she declared her 
rejection of the idolatrous sacrament of the priest, and 
also the Mass. " ^ 

We give her declaration of faith respecting 
Sundays and holy days : — 

' ' God has commanded us to rest on the seventh day. 
Beyond this she did not go : but with the help and grace 
of God she would persevere therein, and in death abide 
thereby ; for it is the true faith, and the right way in 

Another martyr, Christina Tolingerin, is men- 
tioned thus : — 

" Concerning holy days and Sundays, she said : ' In 
six days the Lord made the world, on the seventh day he 
rested. The other holy days have been instituted by 
popes, cardinals, and archbishops.'"^ 

There were at this time Sabbath-keepers in 
France : — 

"In France also there were Christians of this class, 
among whom were M. de la Roque, who wrote in defense 
of the Sabbath against Bossuet, Catholic bishop of 

M. de la Eoque is referred to by Dr. Wall in 
his famous history of infant baptism " as a learned 
man in other points/' but in great error for as- 
serting that " the primitive church did not bap- 
tize infants." ^ It is worthy of notice that Sab- 

' Manual of the Seventh-day Baptists, p. 1(3. 

2Martyrolot?y of the Clmrches of (Mirist, commonlv called Bap- 
tists, during the era of the Reformation. From the Dutch of T. J. 
Van iJraght, London, 185U, vol. i. pp. 11;], 114. 

'M. p. 11-. ''Manual of the S. 1). Baptists, p. IG. 

'Wall's lli.story of Infant Baptism, vol. ii. p. o7'.», Oxford, 1835. 


bath-keepers are always observers of scriptural 
baptism — the burial of penitent believers in the 
watery grave. No people retaining infant bap- 
tism, or the sprinkling of believers, have observed 
the seventh clay. ^ 

The origin of the Sabbatarians of England can- 
not now be definitely ascertained. Their ob- 
servance of believers' baptism and the keeping of 
the seventh day as the Sabbath of the Lord, 
strongly attest their descent from the persecuted 
heretics of the Dark Ages, rather than from the 
reformers of the sixteenth centuiy, who retained 
infant baptism and the festival of Sunday. That 
these heretics had long been numerous in Eng- 
land, is thus certified by Crosby : — 

" For in the time of William tlie Conqueror [a. d. 1070] 
and his son William Rufus, it appears that the Waldenses 
and their disciples out of France, Germany, and Holland, 
had their frequent recourse, and did abound in England. 

The Beringarian, or Waldensian heresy, as the 

chronologer calls it, had, about a. d. 1080, generally cor- 
rupted all France, Italy, and England. "- 

Mr. Maxson says of the English Sabbata- 
rians : — 

"In England we find Sabbath-keepers very early. Dr. 
Chambers says : ' They arose in England in the sixteenth 
century,' from which we understand that they then be- 
came a distinct denomination in that kingdom."^ 

Mr. Benedict speaks thus of the origin of Eng- 
lish Sabbatarians : — 

" At what time the Seventh-day Baptists began to form 

il know of no exception to this statement. If there be any it 
must be found in the cases of those observinj": both scA^enth and 
fii'st days. Even here, there is certainly no such thins; as sprink- 
linej for baptism, but possibly there may be the baptism of young 
children. 2 Hist. English Baptists, yol. ii. pref. pp. 4", 44. 

-Maxson's Hist. Sab. v. 4'2. 


cliurclies in this kingdom does not appear ; but probably 
it was at an early period ; and although their churches 
have never been numerous, yet there have been among 
them almost for two hundred years past, some very em- 
inent men." ^ 



The light of the Reformation destroyed many of the best 
.Sunday arguments of the preceding Dark Ages — The con- 
troversy between the Presbyterians and Episcopalians of 
England brings Sunday sacredness to the test — The former 
discover the means of enforcing the observance of Sunday 
by the fourth commandment — How this can be done — Ef- 
fects of this extraordinary discovery — History of the Sun- 
day festival concluded. 

The light of the Reformation necessarily dissi- 
pated into thin air many of the most substantial 
arguments by which the Sunday festival had been 
built up during the Dark Ages. The roll that 
fell from Heaven — the apparition of St. Peter — 
the relief of souls in purgatory, and even of the 
damned in hell — and many prodigies of fearful 
portent — none of these, nor all of them combined, 
were hkely longer to sustain the sacredness of 
the venerable day. True it was that when these 
were sw^ept away there remained to sustain the 
festival of Sunday, the canons of councils, the 
edicts of kings and emperors, the decrees of the 
lioly doctors of the church, and, greatest of all, 

the imperious mandates of the Roman pontiff". 


' (ion. Tlist. lini)f. Denoni. vol. ii. p. 414, cd. 1S13. 


Yet these could be adduced also in behalf of the 
innumerable festivals ordained by the same great 
apostate church. Such authority would answer 
for the Episcopalian, who devoutly accepts of all 
these festivals, because commanded so to do by 
the church ; but for those who acknowledge the 
Bible as the only rule of faith, the case was dif- 
ferent. In the latter part of the sixteenth cen- 
tury, the Presbyterians and Episcopalians of 
England were involved in such a controversy as 
brought this matter to an issue. The Episcopa- 
lians required men to observe all the festivals of 
the church ; the Presbyterians observed Sunday, 
and rejected all the rest. The Episcopalians 
showed the inconsistency of this discrimination, 
inasmuch as the same church authority had or- 
dained them all. As the Presbyterians rejected 
the authority of the church, they would not keep 
Sunday upon that ground, especially as it would 
involve the observance also of all the other festi- 
vals. They had to choose therefore between the 
giving up of Sunday entirely, and the defense of 
its observance by the Bible. There was indeed 
another and a nobler choice that they might have 
made, viz., to adopt the Sabbath of the Lord, but 
it was too humiliating for them to unite with 
those who retained that ancient and sacred insti- 
tution. The issue of this struo^ale is thus related 
by a distinguished German theologian, Hengsten- 
berg :— 

' ' The opinion that the Sabbath was transferred to the 
Sunday was first broached in its perfect form, and with 
all its consequences, in the controversy which was carried 
on in Ensfland between the Episcopalians and Presbyte- 
rians. The Presbyterians, who carried to extremes the 
principle, that every institution of the church must have 
its foundation in the Scriptures, and would not allow 


iliat God had given, in this respect, greater liberty to the 
church of the New Testament, which his Spirit had 
brought to maturity, than to that of the Okl, charged 
the Episcopalians with popish leaven, and superstition, 
and subjection to the ordinances of men, because they 
retained the Christian feasts. The Episcopalians, on the 
other hand, as a proof that greater liberty was granted to 
the New-Testament church in such matters as these, ap- 
pealed to the fact that even the observance of the Sun- 
day was only an arrangement of the church. The Pres- 
byterians were now in a position which compelled them 
either to give up the observance of the Sunday, or to 
maintain that a divine appointment from God separated 
it from the other festivals. The iirst they could not do, 
for their Christian experience was too deep for them not 
to know hoAv greatly the weakness of human nature 
stands in need of regularly returning periods, devoted to 
tlie service of God. They therefore decided upon the 

Thus mucli for the occasion of that wonderful 
discovery by which the Scriptures are made to 
sustain the divine appointment of Sunday as the 
Christian Sabbath. The date of the discovery, 
the name of the discoverer, and the manner in 
which he contrived to enforce the first day of the 
week by the authority of the fourth command- 
ment, are thus set forth by a candid iirst-day his- 
torian, Lyman Coleman : — 

' ' The true doctrine of the Christian Sabbath was first 
promulgated by an English dissenter, the Rev. Nicholas 
Bound, D. D., of Norton, in the county of Suflfollc. 
About the year 1595, he published a famous book, enti- 
tled, 'Sabbathum Vcteris et Novi Testamenti,' or the 
True Doctrine of the Sabbath. In this book he main- 
tained ' that the seventh part of our time ought to be de- 
voted to God— that Christians are bound to rest on the 
Lord's day as much as the Jews were on the Mosaic Sab- 
batli, the commandment alx)ut rest being moral and per- 
petual ; and that it was not lawful for persons to follow 

' If(Migstcnbcr,<;'s Lord's Day, \^. C<i]. 


their studies or worldly business on that day, nor to use 
such pleasures and recreations as are permitted on other 
days.' This book spread with wonderful rapidity. The 
doctrine which it propounded called forth from many 
hearts a ready response, and the result was a most pleas- 
ing reformation in many parts of the kingdom. ' It is 
almost incredible,' says Fuller, 'how taking this doctrine 
was, partly because of its own purity, and partly for the 
eminent piety of such persons as maintained it ; so that 
the Lord's day, especially in corporations, began to be 
precisely kept ; people becoming a law unto themselves, 
forbearing such sports as yet by statute permitted ; yea, 
many rejoicing at their own restraint herein.' The law 
of the Sabbath was indeed a religious principle, after 
which the Christian church had, for centuries, been 
darkly groping. Pious men of every age had felt the 
necessity of divine authority for sanctifying the day. 
Their conscience had been in advance of their reason. 
Practically they had kept the Sabbath better than their 
principles required. 

" Public sentiment, however, was still unsettled in re- 
gard to this new doctrine respecting the Sabbath, though 
a few at first violently opposed it. ' Learned men Avere 
much divided in their judgments about these Sabbatarian 
doctrines ; some embraced them as ancient truths conso- 
nant to Scripture, long disused and neglected, now sea- 
sonably revived for the increase of pietj^. Others con- 
ceived them grounded on a wrong bottom ; but because 
they tended to the manifest advance of religion, it was a 
pity to oppose them ; seeing none have just reason to 
complain, being deceived unto their own good. But a 
third sort flatly fell out with these propositions, as gall- 
ing men's necks with a Jcvnsli yoke against the liberty of 
Christians ; that Christ, as Lord of the Sabbath, had re- 
moved the rigor thereof, and allowed men lawful recrea- 
tions ; that this doctrine put an, imegual lustre on the ISvn- 
day, on set purpose to eclipse all other holy days, to the 
derogation of the authority of the church ; that this strict 
observance was set up out of faction, to be a character 
of diflerence to brand all for libertines who did not enter- 
tain it.' No open opposition, however, was at first man- 
ifested against the sentiments of Dr. Bound, No reply 
was attempted for several years, and ' not so much as a 
feather of ji quill in print d^d wag against him.' 

t^ablj.ith History. .'>i 


" His work was soon followed by several other treatises 
in defense of the same sentiments. ' All the Puritans 
fell in with this doctrine, and distinguished themselves 
by spending that part of sacred time in public, family, 
and private devotion.' Even Dr. Heylyn certified the 
triumphant spread of those ^puritanical sentiments respect- 
ing the Sabbath 

"'This doctrine,' he says, 'carrying such a fair shov/ 
of piety, at least in the opinion of the common people, 
and such as did not examine the true grounds of it, in- 
duced many to embrace and defend it ; and in a very 
little time it became the most bewitching error and the 
most popular infatuation that ever was embraced by the 
people of England.' " ^ 

Dr. Bound was not absolutely the inventor of 
the seventh-part-of-time theory ; but he may be 
said rather to have gathered up and combined 
the scattered hints of his predecessors, and to 
have added to these something of his own pro- 
duction. His grounds for asserting Sunday to 
be the Sabbath of the fourth commandment are 
these : — 

"That which is natural, namely, that every seventh 
day should be kept holy unto the Lord, that still re- 
maineth : that which is positive, namely, that day which 
wa.s the seventh day from the creation, should be the 
Sabbath, or day of rest, that is now changed in the 
church of God." " 

He says that the meaning of the declaration, 
" Tlie seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy 
God," is this :— 

" There must be one [day] of seven and not [one] of 

1 Coleman's Ancient Christianitj Exemplified, chap. xxvi. sect. 
•J ; Heylyn'.s Hist. Sab. part ii. chap. viii. .sect. V ; Neal's Hist. 
Puritans, part i. chap. viii. 

'^ Subbathiiin Veteris et Novi Testamenti ; or, the True Doctrine 
of llie Sabbath, bv Nicholas Hound, 1). 1)., sec. ed. London, 
If.'";, p. .-,1. ■ y Id. p. ''.<;. 

srxDAY rsiMiPs the comjiaxdment. 47.") 

But the special key to the whole theory is in 
the statement that the seventh day in the com- 
mandment was "genus'' that is to say, it was a 
kind of seventh day which comprehended several 
species of seventh days, at least two. Thus he 
says :— 

"So lie maketli the seventh day to be genus in this 
commandment, and to be perpetual : and in it by virtue 
of the commandment to comprehend these two species or 
kinds : the Sabbath of the Jews and of the Gentiles, of 
the law and of the gospel : so that both of them were 
comprehended in the commandment, even as gemwi com- 
prehendeth both liis species." ^ 

He enforces the first day by the fourth com- 
mandment, as follows : — 

" So that we have not in the gospel a new command- 
ment for tlie Sa,bbath, diverse from that that was in the 
law ; but there is a diverse time appointed ; namely, not 
the seventh day from the creation, but the day of Christ's 
resurrection, and the seventh from that : both of them at 
several times being comprehended in the fourth com- 
mandment. "- 

He means to say that the fourth command- 
ment enforces the seventh day from the creation 
to the resurrection of Christ, and since that en- 
forces a difierent seventh day, namely, the sev- 
enth from Christ's resurrection. Such is the per- 
verse ingenuity by which men can evade the law 
of God and yet make it appear that they are 
faithfully observing it. 

Such was the origin of tlie seventh-part-of- 
time theory, by w^hich the seventh day is dropped 
out of the fourth commandment, and one day in 
seven slipped into its place ; a doctrine most op- 
portunely framed at the very period wdien noth- 

True Doc. of the Sab. p. Tl. 2 id. p. 72. 

47(3 iiJSTouv OK THE sabbath. 

ing else could save the venerable day of the sun. 
With the aid of this theory, the Sunday of " Pope 
and Pagan " was able coolly to wrap itself in the 
fourth commandment, and then in the character 
of a divine institution, to challenge obedience 
from all Bible Christians. It could now cast 
away the other frauds on which its very exist- 
ence had depended, and support its authority by 
this one alone. In the time of Cons tan tine it 
ascended the throne of the Roman Empire, and 
during the Avhole period of the Dark Ages it 
maintained its supremacy from the chair of St. 
Peter; but now it had ascended the throne of 
the Most High. And thus a day which God 
"commanded not nor spake it, neither came it 
into" his "mind," was enjoined upon mankind 
with all the authority of his holy law. The im- 
mediate effect of Dr. Bound's work upon the ex- 
isting controversy is thus described by an Episco- 
palian eye-witness, Dr. Heylyn : — 

' ' For by inculcating to the people these new Sabbatli 
.speculations [concerning Sunday], teaching that that day 
only 'was of God's appointment, and all the rest ob- 
served in the church of England, a remnant of the will- 
Avorship in the church of Rome ;' the other holy days in 
this church established, were so shrewdly shaken that till 
this day they are not well recovered of the blow then 
given, Nor came this on the l)y or besides their pm-pose, 
but as a thing that specially was intended from the first 

In a former chapter, we called attention to the 
fact that Sunday can be maintained as a divine 
institution only by adopting the rule of faith ac- 
knowledged in the church of Rome, which is, the 
Bible with the traditions of the church added 
thereto. We have seen that in the sixteenth cen- 

' Hist, i^iih. part ii. cliap. viii. sect. ?. 


tury the Presbyterians of England were brought 
to decide between giving up Sunday as a church 
festival and maintaining it as a divine institution 
by the Bible. They chose the latter course. Yet 
while apparently avoiding the charge of observing 
a Catholic festival, by claiming to prove the Sun- 
day institution out of the Bible, the utterly unsat- 
isfactory nature of the several inferences adduced 
from the Scriptures in support of that day, com- 
pelled them to resort to the traditions of the 
church, and to add these to their so-called bib- 
lical evidences in its behalf. It would be no 
worse to keep Sunday while frankly acknowd- 
edo'incr it to be a festival of the Catholic church, 
not commanded in the Bible, than it is to profess 
tliat you observe it as a biblical institution, and 
then prove it to be such by adopting the rule 
of faith of the Romanists. Joannes Perrone, 
an eminent Italian Catholic theologian, in an 
important doctrinal work, entitled, ''' Theological 
Lessons," makes a very impressive statement 
respecting the acknowledgment of tra.dition by 
Protestant Sunday-keepers. In his chapter " Con- 
cerninof the Necessity and Existence of Tradi- 
tion," he lays do^\^l the proposition that it is nec- 
essary to admit doctrines which we can prove 
only from tradition, and cannot sustain from the 
Holy Scriptures. Then he says : — 

"•'It is not possible, mdeed, if traditions of such char- 
acter are rejected, tha-t several doctrines, which the Pro- 
testants held with ns since they withdrew from the Cath- 
olic church, could, in any possible manner, be established. 
The fact is placed beyond a venture of a doubt, for 
they themselves hold with us the validity of baptism ad- 
ministered by heretics or infidels, the validity also of 
infant baptism, the true form of baptism [sprinkling] ; 
they held, too, that the law of abstaining from blood and 


anything strangled is not in force ; also concerning the 
substitution of the Lord's day for the Sabbath ; besides 
those things ^"hich I have mentioned before, and not a 
few others. " ^ 

Dr. Bound's theory of the seventh part of tune 
has found general acceptance in all those churches 
which sprung from the church of Rome. Most 
forcibly did old Cotton Mather observe : — 

''The reforming churches, flying from Rome, carried, 
some of them more, some of them less, all of them some- 
thing, of Rome with them." " 

One sacred treasure which they all drew from 
the venerable mother of harlots is the ancient 
festival of the sun. She had crushed out of her 
communion the Sabbath of the Lord, and having 
adopted the venerable day of the sun, had trans- 
formed it into the Lord's day of the Christian 
church. The reformed, fl3"ing from her commun- 
ion, and carrying with them tliis ancient festival, 
now found themselves able to justify its observ- 
ance as being indeed tlie veritable Sabbath of the 
Lord ! As the seamless coat of Jesus, tlie Lord 
of the Sabbath, was torn from him before he was 
nailed to the cross, so has the fourth command- 
ment been torn from the rest-day of the Lord, 
around which it was placed by tlie great Law- 
giver, and given to this papal Lord's day; and 

1 Prselectioues Theological, a'oI. i. part ii. sect. 2, cap. i. p. 194. 
"Propositio. Praeter sacram Scripturam adraitti uecessario de- 
bent Traditiones divinae dogmaticse ab ilia prorsus distinctae." 

"Noil posse praeterea, rejectis ejusmodi traditionibus, plura 
dogmata, quic nobiscum retinuerunt'protestantes cum ab Ecclesia 
catholica recesserunt, uUo modo adstruis, res est citra omnis du- 
bitationis aleam posita. Etenim ipsi nobiscum retinuerunt val- 
orem baptismi ab haereticis aut intidclibus administrati, valorem 
item paedobaptismi, germanam baptismi formam, ccssationem 
Icgis (Ic abstiucntia a sanguine et suffocato, de die dominico Sab- 
batis suiFecto, practcr ea quae superius commemoravimus aliaque 
baud pauca." 

-Uackns' Hist, of the Tlaptist^ in Xew England, p. <>'■), cd. 1777. 


this Barabbas the robber, thus arrayed in the 
stolen fourth commandment, has from that time 
to the present day, and with astonishing success, 
challenged the obedience of the world as the di- 
vinely appointed Sabbath of the most high God. 
Here we close the history of the Sunday festival, 
now fully transformed into the Christian Sabbath. 
A rapid survey of the history of English and 
American Sabbath-keepers will conclude this 



English Sabbatarians in the sixteenth century — Their doc- 
trines — John Trask for these doctrines pilloried, whipt, 
and imprisoned — He recants — Character of Mrs. Trask — 
Her crime — Her indomitable courage — She suffers fifteen 
years' imprisonment, and dies in the prison — Principles of 
the Traskites — Brabourne writes in behalf of the seventh 
day — Appeals to King Charles I. to restore the ancient 
Sabbath — The king employs Dr. White to write against 
Brabourne, and Dr. Heylyn to write the History of the 
Sabbath — The king intimidates Brabourne and he recants 
— He returns again to the Sabbath — Philip Tandy — James 
Ockford writes "The Doctrine of the Fourth Command- 
ment" — His book burned — Edward Stennett — Wm. Sellers 
— Cruel Treatment of Francis Bampfield — Thomas Bamp- 
field — Martyrdom of John James — How the Sabbath cause 
was prostrated in England. 

Chambers speaks thus of Sabbath -keepers in 
the sixteenth century : — 

"In the reign of Elizabeth, it occurred to many con- 
scientious and independent thinkers (as it had previously 
done to some Protestants in Boliemia), that the fourth com- 
mandment required c>f them the observance, not of the 


first, but of the siJecified seventh day of the week, and a 
strict bodily rest, as a service then due to God ; while 
others, though convinced that the day had been altered 
by divine authority, took up the same opinion as to the 
scriptural obligation to refrain from work. The former 
class became numerous enough to make a considerable 
figure for more than a century in England, under the 
title of ' Sabbatarians ' — a word now exchanged for the 
less ambiguous appellation of ' Seventh-day Baptists.' " * 

Gilfillan quotes an English writer of the year 
1584, John Stockwoocl, who says that there were 

" A great diversity of opinion among the vulgar people 
and simple sort, concerning the Sabbath day, and the 
right use of the same." 

And Gilfillan states one of the ocrounds of con- 
troversy thus : — 

' ' Some maintaining the unchanged and unchangeable 
obligation of the seventh-day Sabbath."" 

In 1607, an English first-day writer, John 
Sprint, gave the viev/s of the Sabbath-keepers of 
that time, which in truth have been substantially 
the same in all ages : — 

''They allege reasons drawn, 1. From the precedence 
of tlie Sabbath before the law, and before the fall ; the 
laws of which nature are immutable. 2. From the per- 
petuity of the moral law, 3. And from the large extent 
tlicreof appertaining to [the Sabbath above] all [the other 
precepts.] 4. . . . And of the cause of [this precept of] 
the law which maketh it perpetual, which is the memorial 
and meditation of the works of God ; which belong unto 
tlie Christians as well as to the Jews."" 

John Trask began to speak and wi'ite in favor 
of the seventh day as the Sabbath of the Lord, 
about the time that King James I., and the arch- 

» Chambers' Cyclopedia, article. Sabbath, vol. viii. p. 402, Lon- 
don. 18f,7. MWlfiUan's Sabbath, p. CO. 
» Observation of the Christian Sabbath, p. J. 


bishop of Canterburv, published the famous 
" Book of Sports for Sunday," in KUS. His field 
of labor was London, and being a very zealous 
man, he was soon called to account by the perse- 
cuting authority of the church of England. He 
took high ground as to the sufficiency of the 
Scriptures to direct in all religious services, and 
that the civil authorities ouglit not to constrain 
men's consciences in matters of religion. He was 
brought before the infamous Star Chamber, where 
a long discussion was held respecting the Sabbath. 
It was on this occasion that Bishop Andrews 
first brought forward that now famous first-day 
argument, that the early martyrs were tested by 
the question, " Hast thou kept the Lord's day ? " ^ 
Giifillan, quoting the words of cotemporaiy 
Avriters, says of Trask's trial that, 

' '■ For ' making of conventicles and factions, by that 
means which may tend to sedition and commotion, and 
for scandalizing the king, the bishops, and the clergy,' 
' he was censured in the Star Chamber to be set upon the 
pillory at Westminster, and from thence to be whipt to 
the fleet, there to remain a prisoner.' " - 

This cruel sentence was carried into execution, 
and finally broke his spirit. After enduring the 
misery of his prison for one year, he recanted his 
doctrine.^ The case of his wife is worthy of par- 
ticular mention. Pagitt gives her character thus: 

' ' She was a woman endued with many particular vir- 
tues, well worthy the imitation of all good Christians, 
had not error in other things, especially a spirit of strange 
unparalleled opinionativeness and obstinacy in her pri- 
vate conceits, spoiled her. " * 

Pagitt says that she was a school teacher of 

1 See the fifteenth chaptei" of this work. 

2 GilfiUan's Sabbath, p. 88. 3 Id. Tb. 
■iPagitt's Heresiographv, p. 200, London, 1061. 


superior excellence. She was particularly careful 
in her dealings with the poor. He gives her 
reasons thus : — 

" This she professed to do out of conscience, as beUev- 
ing she must one dcay come to be judged for all things 
done in the flesh. Therefore she resolved to go by the 
safest rule, rather against than for her private interest." * 

Pagitt gives her crime in the following words : — 

' ' At last for teaching only live days in the week, and 
resting upon Saturday, it being known upon u'hat account 
she did it, she was carried to the new prison in Maiden 
Lane, a place then appointed for the restraint of several 
other persons of different opinions from the church of 

Observe the crime : it was not what she did, 
for a first-day person might have done the same, 
l)ut because she did it to obey the fourth com- 
mandment. Her motive exposed her to the 
vengeance of the authorities. She was a woman 
of indomitable courage, and would not purchase 
her liberty by renouncing the Lord's Sabbath. 
During her long imprisonment, Pagitt says that 
some one wrote her thus : — 

"Your constant suffering would be praiseworthy, were 
it for truth ; but being for en-or, your recantation will be 
both more acceptable to God, and laudable before men." " 

But her faith and patience held out till she 
was released by death. 

" Mrs. Trask lay fifteen or sixteen years a prisoner for 
her opinion about the Saturday Sabljath ; in all which 
time she would receive no relief from anybody, notwith- 
standing she wanted much : alleging that it was written, 
' It is UKjre blessed ... to give than to receive.' Nei- 
ther would she borrow, because it was written, ' Thou 
shalt lend to many nations, and shalt not borrow.' So 

' I'atritt's llcrrsi(.irni],liy. ]>. 2*K>. 2 Id. p. 21". •> Id. p. H'A. 


she deemed it a dishonor to her head, Christ, either to 
beg or borrow. Her diet for the most part during her 
imprisonment, that is, till a little before her death, was 
bread and water, roots and herbs ; no flesh, nor wine, nor 
brewed drink. All her means was an annuity of forty 
shillings a year ; what she lacked more to live upon she 
had of such prisoners as did employ her sometimes to do 
business for them," ^ 

Pagitt, who was the cotemporary of Trask, 
thus states the principles of the Sabbatarians of 
that time, whom he calls Traskites : — 

' ' The positions concerning the Sabbath by them main- 
tained were these : — 

'' 1, That the fourth commandment of the Decalogue, 
' Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy ' [Ex. 20], is 
a divine precept, simply and entirely moral, containing 
nothing legally ceremonial in whole or in part, and there- 
fore the weekly observation thereof ought to be perpetual, 
and to continue in force and virtue to the world's end. 

' ' 2. That the Saturday, or seventh day in every week, 
ought to be an everlasting holy day in the Christian 
church, and the religious observation of this day obligeth 
Christians under the gospel, as it did the Jews before the 
coming of Christ. 

"3. That the Sunday, or Lord's day, is an ordinary 
working day, and it is superstition and will- worship to 
make the same the Sabbath of the fourth command- 

It was for this noble confession of faith that 
Mrs, Trask was shut up in prison till the day of 
her death. For the same, Mr. Trask was com- 
pelled to stand in the pillory, and was whipped 
from thence to the fleet, and then shut up in a 
wretched prison, from which he escaped by re- 
cantation fifter enduring its miseries for more 
than a year.^ 

1 Pagitt's Heresiographj, pp. 19(3, 197, ^ id. p. 161. 

3 Manual of the Seventh-day Baptists, pp. IT, 18; Heylyn's 
Hist, of the Sab, part ii. chap. viii. sect, lu ; Gilfillan's Sabbath, 
l)p. s'^, s;i ; Cox'.s Sabbath Literature, vol. i. pp. l'»2, l")-'3. 


Mr. Utter mentions the next Sabbatarian min- 
ister as follows : — 

i' Theophihis Brabounie, a learned minister of the gos- 
pel in the established church, wrote a book, which was 
printed at London in 1628, wherein he argued ' that the 
Lord's day is not the Sabbath day by divine institution,' 
but ' that the seventh-day Sabbath is now in force.' Mr. 
Brabourne published another book in 1G32, entitled, ' A 
Defense of that most Ancient and Sacred Ordinance of 
God's, the Sabbath Day.' "^ 

Brabourne dedicated his book to King Charles 
I., requesting him to use his royal authority for 
the restoration of the ancient Sabbath. But 
those who put their trust in princes are sure to 
be disappointed. Dr. F. White, bishop of Ely, 
thus states the occasion of his own work against 
the Sabbath : — 

"Now because this Brabourne's treatise of the Sab- 
bath was dedicated to his Royal Majesty, and the princi- 
ples upon which he grounded all his arguments (being 
commonly preached, printed, and believed throughout 
the kingdom), might have poisoned and infected many 
people either with this Sabbatarian error, or with some 
other of like quality ; it was the king, our gracious mas- 
ter, his will and pleasure, that a treatise should be set 
forth, to prevent further mischief, and to settle his good 
subjects (who have long time been distracted about Sab- 
batarian questions) in the old and good way of the an- 
cient and orthodoxal Catholic church. Now that which 
his sacred Majesty commanded, I have by your Grace's 
direction [Archbishop Laud] obediently performed. "- 

The king not only wished by this appointment 
to overthrow those who kept the day enjoined 
in the commandment, but also those who by 
means of Dr. Bound's new theory pretended that 

^Miinual of the S. 1). Baptists, p. 18. 

■' Dr. Fruncis White's Treatise of the Sabbath Dav, (luoled in 
Cox's Sal). J. it. vol. i. p. KIT. 


Sunday was that day. He therefore joined Dr. 
Heylyn with Bishop White in this work : — 

' ' Which burden being held of too great weight for any 
one to undergo, and the necessity of the work requiring 
a quick dispatch, it was held fit to divide the employment 
betwixt two. The argumentative and scholastical part 
was referred to the right learned Dr. White, then bishop 
of Ely, who had given good proof of his ability in polemic- 
al matters in several books and disputations against the 
papists. The practical and historical [was to be written], 
by Heylyn of Westminster, who had gained some repu- 
tation for his studies in the ancient writers." ^ 

The works of White and Heylyn were pub- 
lished simultaneously in 1635. Dr. White, in 
addressing himself to those who enforce Sunday 
observance by the fourth commandment, speaks 
thus of Brabourne's arguments, that not Sunday, 
but the ancient seventh day, is there enjoined : — 

'' Maintaining your own principles that the fourth com- 
mandment is purely and simply moral and of the law of 
nature, it v/ill be impossible for you either in English or 
in Latin, to solve Theophilus Brabourne's objections."- 

But the king had something besides argument 
for Brabourne. He was brought befoi'e Arch- 
bishop Laud and the court of High Commission, 
and, moved by the fate of Mrs. Trask, he submit- 
ted for the time to the authority of the church 
of England, but sometime afterward wrote other 
books in behalf of the seventh day." Dr. White's 
book has this pithy notice of the indetinite-time 
theory : — 

iHeylyn's Cyprianus Anglicus, quoted in Cox, vol. i. p. 173. 

2 Treatise of Ihe Sabbath Day, p. 110. 

a Hessey's Bampton Lectures, pp. 373, 374; Cox's Sab. Lit. vol. 
ii. p. 6 ; A. H. Lewis's Sabbath and Sunday, i)p. 17S-184. This 
work contains mucli valuable information respecting English and 
American Sabbatarian?. 


'^Because an indefinite time must either bind to all 
moments of time, as a debt, when the day of payment is 
not expressly dated, is liable to payment every moment ; 
or else it binds to no time at all." ^ 

Mr. Utter, after the statement of Brabourne's 
case, continues thus : — 

" About this time Philip Tandy began to promulgate 
in the northern part of England the same doctrine con- 
cerning the Sabbath. He was educated in the established 
church, of which he became a minister. Having changed 
his views respecting the mode of baptism and the day of 
the Sabbath, he abandoned that church and ' became a 
mark for many shots. ' He held several public disputes 
about his peculiar sentiments, and did much to propagate 
them. James Ockford Avas another early advocate in 
England of the claims of the seventh day as the Sabbath. 
He appears to have been well acquainted with the discus- 
sions in wliich Trask and Brabourne had been engaged. 
Being dissatisfied with the pretended conviction of Bra- 
bourne, he wrote a book in defense of Sabbatarian views, 
entitled, 'The Doctrine of the Fourth Commandment.' 
This book, x^ublished about the year 1642, vras burnt by 
order of the authorities in the established church." - 

The famous Stennett family furnished, for foiu- 
generations, a succession of able Sabbatarian 
ministers. Mr. Edward Stennett, the first of 
these, was born about the beginning of the sev- 
enteenth century. His work entitled, "The Roy- 
al Law Contended For," was first published at 
London in 1658. "He was an able and devoted 
minister, but dissenting from the established 
church, he was deprived of the means of sup- 
port." " He suffered much of the persecution 
which the Dissenters were exposed to at that 
time, and more especially for his faithful adher- 
ence to the cause of the Sabbath. For this truth 
he experienced tribulation, not only from those in 

> Treatise of the Sabbath Day, p. 73. 
-Manual of tlie S. 1). Baptists, pp. 10, 20. 


power, by whom he was kept a long time in prison, 
but also much distress from unfriendly, dissenting 
brethren, who strove to destroy his influence, and 
ruin his cause." In 1664, he published a work 
entitled, "The Seventh Day is the Sabbath of 
the Lord." ^ In 1671, Wm. Sellers wrote a work 
in behalf of the seventh day in reply to Dr. 
Owen. Cox states its object thus : — 

''In opposition to the opinion that some one day in 
seven is all that the fourth commandment requires to be 
set apart, the writer maintains the obligation of the Sat- 
urday Sabbath on the ground that ' God himself directly 
in the letter of the text calls the seventh day the Sab- 
bath day, giving both the names to one and the self-same 
day, as all men know that ever read the commandments. ' " " 

One of the most eminent Sabbatarian ministers 
of the last half of the seventeenth century was 
Francis Bampfield. He was originally a clergy- 
man of the church of England. The Baptist 
historian, Crosby, speaks of him thus : — 

' ' But being utterly unsatisfied in his conscience with 
the conditions of conformity, he took his leave of his 
sorrowful and weeping congregation in . , . 1662, and 
was quickly after imprisoned for worshiping God in his 
own family. So soon was his unshaken loyalty to the 
king forgotten, . . . that he was more frequently im- 
prisoned and exposed to greater hardshii^s for his noncon- 
formity, than most other dissenters."^ 

Of his imprisonment, Neale says : — 

''After the act of uniformity, he continued preaching 
as he had opportunity in private, till he was imprisoned 
for five days and nights, with twenty-five of his hearers 
in one room . . . where they spent their time in re- 
ligious exercises, but after some time he was released. 
Soon after, he was apprehended again and lay nine years 

iCox, vol. i. p. 2fi8 ; vol. ii. p. 10. -Id. vol. ii. p. 35. 

s Hist. English Baptists, vol. i. pp. 3G.'), SfiC. 


ill Dorchester jail, though lie was a person of unshaken 
loyalty to the king."^ 

During his imprisonment, he preached almost 
every day, and gathered a church even under his 
confinement. And when he was at liberty, he 
ceased not to preach in the name of Jesus. After 
his release, he went to London, where he preached 
with much success.^ Neale says of his labors in 
that city: — 

' ^ When he resided in London he formed a church on 
the principles of the Sabbatarian Baptists, at Pinner's 
hall, of which principles he was a zealous asserter. He 
was a celebrated preacher, and a man of serious piety. "^ 

On Feb. 17, 1682, he was arrested while preach- 
ing, and on March 28, was sentenced to forfeit all 
his goods and to be imprisoned in Newgate for 
life. In consequence of the hardships which he 
suffered in that prison, he died, Feb. 16, 1683.-' 
" Bampfield,*' says Wood, " dying in the said pris- 
on of Newgate . . . aged seventy years, his 
body was . . . followed with a very great 
company of factious and schismatical people to 
his grave." ^ Crosby says of him : — 

"All that knew him will acknowledge that he was a 
man of great piety. And he would in all probability 
have preserved the same character, Avitli respect to his 
learning and judgment, had it not been for his opinion 
in two points, viz., that infants ought not to be baptized, 
and that the Jewish Sabbath ought still to be kept.'"^ 

Mr. Bampfield published two works in behalf 
of the seventh day as the Sabbath, one in 1672, 

^Hist. Puritans, part 2. chap. x. 
2 Crosby's Hist. Eng. Baptists, vol. i. pp. 3G6, 307. 
'Hist. Puritans, part 2, chap. x. 

■• Calamy's Ejected Ministers, vol. ii. pp. 258, 259; Lewiu' Sab- 
bath and Sunday, pp. 188-100. 

^Wood's Athenic Oxonienscy, vol. iv. p. \-2^-. 
' (.'ro.^bv, vol. i. p. G(;7. 


the other in 1677. In the first of these he tlius 
sets forth the doctrine of the Sabbath : — 

" The law of the seventh-day Sabbath was given be- 
fore the law was proclaimed at Sinai, even from the crea- 
tion, given to Adam, . . . and in him to all the 
world/ .... The Lord Christ's obedience unto this 
fourth word in observing in his lifetime the seventh day 
as a weekly Sabbath day, . . . and no other day of 
the week as such, is a part of that perfect righteousness 
which every sound believer doth apply to himself in or- 
der to his being justified in the sight of God ; and every 
such person is to conform unto Christ in all the acts of 
his obedience to the ten words. " " 

His brother, Mr. Thomas Bamplield, who had 
been speaker in one of Cromwell's parliaments, 
wrote also in behalf of seventh -day observance, 
and was imprisoned for his religious principles 
in Ilchester jail.^ About the time of Mr. Bamp- 
lield's first imprisonment, severe persecution arose 
against the Sabbath-keepers in London. Crosby 
thus bears testimony : — 

"It was about this time [a. d. 1661], that a congre- 
gation of Baptists holding the seventh day as a Sabbath, 
being assembled at their meeting-house in Bull-stake al- 
ley, the doors being open, about three o'clock p. m. [Oct. 
19], whilst Mr. John James was preaching, one Justice 
Chard, with Mr. Wood, an headborough, came into the 
meeting-place. Wood commanded him in the king's name 
to be silent and come down, having spoken treason 
against the king. But Mr. James, taking little or no 
notice thereof, proceeded in his work. The headborough 
came nearer to him in the middle of the meeting-place 
and commanded him again in the king's name to come 
down or else he would pull him down ; whereupon the 
disturbance grew so great that he could not proceed." * 

1 Ex. 16 : 23 ; Gen. 2 : ;). 

2 Judgment for the Observation of the Jewish or Seventh-day 
Sabbath, pp. 6-8, 1G72. 

•"• Calamy, vol. 2, ]). 2o!'. ^ dnpln-, vol. 2. pp. IHo IM. 

S.a.l-ath Hist .rv. ;5t> 

41M) inSTOKY OF THi: SAliHATlI. 

The otticer having pulled him down from the 
pulpifc, led him away to the court under a strong 
guard. Mr. Utter continues this narrative as 
follows : — 

"Mr. James was himself examined and committed to 
Newgate, on the testimony of several profligate wit- 
nesses, who accused him of speaking treasonable words 
against the king. His trial took place about a month 
afterward, at which he conducted himself in such a man- 
ner as to create much sympathy. He was, however, sen- 
tenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.^ This awful 
sentence did not dismay him in the least. He calmly 
said, ' Blessed be God ; whom man condemneth, God 
justifieth.' While he lay in prison, under sentence of 
death, many persons of distinction visited him, who were 
greatly aflected by his piety and resignation, and offered 
to exert themselves to secure his pardon. But he seems 
to have had little hope of their success. Mrs. James, by 
advice of her friends, twice presented petitions to the 
king [Charles II.], setting forth the innocence of her 
husband, the character of the witnesses against him, and 
entreating His Majesty to grant a pardon. In both in- 
stances she was repulsed with scoffs and ridicule. At the 
scaffold, on the day of his execution, Mr. James ad- 
dressed the assembly in a very noble and affecting man- 
ner. Having finished his address, and kneeling down, he 
thanked God for covenant mercies, and for conscious 
innocence ; he prayed for the witnesses against him, for 
the executioner, for the peojjle of God, for the removal 
of divisions, for the coming of Christ, for the spectators, 
and for himself, that he might enjoy a sense of God's fa- 
vor and presence, and an entrance into glory. When he 
had ended, the executioner said, ' The Lord receive your 
soul;' to which Mr. James replied, 'I thank thee.' A 
friend observing to him, 'This is a happy day,' he an- 
swered, *I bless God it is.' Then having thanked the 
sheriff for his courtesy, he said, ' Father, into thy hands 
I commit my spirit.' . . . After he was dead his 
heart was taken out and burned, his quarters were af- 

' When asked what he had to .say why sentence should not bo 
prnnouneed, he Haid he would leave with them these scriptures: 
.It^r. -.'O : 14, i:.; Ps. 110 : i:.. 


fixed to the gates of the city, and his head was set up in 
White chapel on a pole opposite to the alley in which his 
meeting-house stood. "^ 

Such was the experience of English Sabbath- 
keepers in the seventeenth century. It cost some- 
thing to obey the fourth commandment in such 
times as those. The laws of England during that 
century were very oppressive to all Dissenters, 
and bore exceedingly hard upon the Sabbath- 
keepers. But God raised up able men, eminent 
for piety, to defend his truth during those troub- 
lous times, and, if need be, to seal their testimony 
with their blood. In the seventeenth century, 
eleven churches of Sabbatarians flourished in 
England, while many scattered Sabbath-keepers 
were to be found in various parts of that king- 
dom. Now, but three of these churches are in 
existence ! And only remnants, even of these, 
remain ■ 

To what cause shall we assign this painful 
fact ? It is not because their adversaries were 
able to confute their doctrine ; for the contro- 
versial works on both sides still remain, and 
speak for themselves. It is not that they lacked 
men of piety and of learning; for God gave 
them these, especially in the seventeenth cen- 
tury. Nor is it that fanaticism sprang up and 
disgraced the cause ; for there is no record of 
anything of this kind. They were cruelly per- 
secuted, but the period of their persecution was 
that of their greatest prosperity. Like Moses' 
bush, they stood unconsumed in the burning fii-e. 
The prostration of the Sabbath cause in England 
is due to none of these things. 

1 Manual, &c. pp. 21-23. 


The Sabbath was wounded in the house of its 
own friends. They took upon themselves the 
responsibility, after a time, of making the Sab- 
bath of no practical importance, and of treating its 
violation as no very serious transgression of the 
law of God. Doubtless they hoped to win men 
to Christ and his truth by this course ; but, in- 
stead of this, they simply lowered the standard 
of divine truth into the dust. The Sabbath- 
keeping ministers assumed the pastoral care of 
first-day churches, in some cases as their sole 
charge, in others, they did this in connection 
with the oversight of Sabbatarian churches. 
The result need surprise no one ; as these Sab- 
bath-keeping ministers and churches said to all 
men, in thus acting, that the fourth command- 
ment might be broken with impunity, the peo- 
ple took them at their word. Mr. Crosby, a 
first-day historian, sets this matter in a clear 
light :— 

" If the seventli day ought to be observed as tlie Chris- 
tian Sabbath, then all congregations that observe the first 
day as svich must be Sabbath-breakers. ... I must 
leave those gentlemen on the contrary side to their own 
sentiments ; and to vindicate the practice of becoming 
I)astors to a people whom in their conscience they must 
believe to be breakers of the Sabbath."^ 

Doubtless there have been noble exceptions to 
this course ; but the body of English Sabbata- 
rians for many years have failed to faithfully 
discharge the high trust committed to them. 

» Crosby's Hist. Eng. Bapt. vol. iii. pp. 18S, 130. 




The first Sabbath-keeping church in America — Names of its 
members — Origin of the second — Organization of the Sev- 
enth-day Baptist General Conference — Statistics of the 
Denomination at that time — Nature of its organization 
— Present Statistics — Educational facilities — Missionary 
work — The American Sabbath Tract Society — Responsi- 
bility for the light of the Sabbath— The German S. D. 
Baptists of Pennsylvania — Reference to Sabbath-keepers 
in Hungary — In Siberia — The Seventh-day Adventists — 
Their origin — Labors of Joseph Bates — Of James White — 
The Publishing Association — Systematic Benevolence — 
The work of the preachers mainly in new fields — Organ- 
ization of the S. D, Adventists — Statistics — Peculiarities of 
their faith— Their object— The S. D. Adventists of Switz- 
erland — Why the Sabbath is of priceless value to mankind 
— The nations of the saved observe the Sabbath in the new 

The first Sabbatarian church in America orig- 
inated at Newport, R. I. The first Sabbath- 
keeper in America was Stephen Mumford, who 
left London three years after the martyrdom of 
John James, and forty-four years after the land- 
ing of the pilgrim fathers at Plymouth. Mr. 
Mumford, it appears, came as a missionary from 
the English Sabbath-keepers.^ Mr. Isaac Backus, 
the historian of the early New England Baptists, 
makes the followinoj record : — 

'^Stephen Mumford came over from London in 1664, 
and brought the opinion with him that the whole of the 
ten commandments, as they were delivered from Mount 

i"When the London Seventh-day Baptists, in 1664, sent 
Stephen Mumford to America, and in 167o sent Eld. WMlliam 
Gibson, they did as much, in proportion to their ability, as had 
been done b)^ any society for propagating the gospel in foreign 
parts." — Seventh-da// Baptist j/eino?ial, vol. i. p. 43. 


Sinai, were moral and immutable ; and that it was the 
Antichristian power which thought to change times and 
laws, that changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the 
first day of the week. Several members of the first 
church in Newport embraced this sentiment, and yet 
continued with the church for some years, until two men 
and their wives who had so done, turned back to the 
keeping of the first day again. "^ 

Mr. Mumford, on his arrival, went earnestly to 
work to convert men to the observance of the 
fourth commandment, as we infer from the fol- 
lowing record : — 

''Stephen Mumford, the first Sabbath-keeper in Amer- 
ica, came from London in 1664. Tacy Hubbard com- 
menced keeping the Sabbath, March 11, 1665. Samuel 
Hubbard commenced April 1, 1665. Rachel Langworthy, 
January 15, 1666. Roger Baxter, April 15, 1666, and 
William Hiscox, April 28, 1666. These were the first Sab- 
bath-keepers in America. A controversy, lasting several 
years, sprung up between them and members of the 
church. They desired to retain their connection with 
the church, but were, at last, compelled to withdraw, 
that they might peaceably enjoy and keep God's holy 
day."" [Baxter is Baster in the S. D. B. Memorial.] 

Though Mr. Mumford faithfully taught the 
truth, he seems to have cherished the ideas of 
the English Sabbatarians, that it was possible for 
first-day and seventh-day observers to walk to- 
gether in church fellowship. Had the first-day 
people been of the same mind, the light of the 
Sabbath would have been extinguished within a 
few years, as the history of English Sabbath- 
keepers clearly proves. But, in the providence 
of God, the danger was averted by the opposition 
which these commandment-keepers had to en- 

' Ch. Hist, of X. England from 1783 to 1700, chap. xi. .sect. 10. 
Mlist. ofthc S. I). 15:ipt. (u>n. Couf. by Jas. Ikiilcy, pp. 2:37, tiSs. 


Besides the persons above enumerated, four 
others embraced the Sabbath in 1666, but in 
1668 they renounced it. These four were also 
members of the first-day Baptist church of New- 
port. Though the Sabbath-keepers who retained 
their integrity thought that they might lawfully 
commune with the members of the church who 
were fully persuaded to observe the first day, yet 
they felt otherwise with respect to these who 
had clearly seen the Sabbath, and had for a time 
observed it, and then apostatized from it. These 
persons " both wrote and spoke against it, which 
so grieved them that they could not sit down at 
the table of the Lord with them, nor with the 
church because of them." But as they were 
members of a first-day church, and had "no 
power to deal with them as of themselves with- 
out the help of the church," they " found them- 
selves barred as to proceeding with them, as be- 
ing but private brethren. So they concluded 
not to bring the case to the church to judge of 
the fact, viz., in turning from the observation of 
the seventh day, being contrary-minded as to 
that." They therefore sent to the London Sab- 
bath-keepers for advice, and in the mean time 
i-efrained from communing with the church. 

Dr. Edward Stennet wrote them in behalf of 
the London Sabbath-keepers : " If the church 
will hold communion with these apostates from 
the truth, you ought then to desire to be fairly 
dismissed from the church ; which if the church 
refuse, you ought to withdraw yourselves."^ They 
decided, however, not to leave the church. But 
they told " the church publicly that they could 

1 Scvcnth-day Baptist ^Icuiorial, vol. i. pp. liV, '2>^, '-".'. 

i;)G HISTORY or tjik ;;AiiRATir. 

not have comfortable communion with those four 
persons that had sinned." " And thus for several 
months they walked with little or no offense from 
the church ; after which the leading or minister- 
ing brethren began to declare themselves concern- 
ing the ten precepts." Mr. Tory " declared the 
law to be done away." Mr. Luker and Mr. Clarke 
" made it their work to preach the non-observa- 
tion of the law, day after day." But the Sab- 
bath-keepers replied " that the ten precepts were 
still as holy, just, good, and spiritual, as ever." 
Mr. Tory " with some unpleasant words said 'that 
their tune was only the fourth precept/ to which 
they answered, 'that the whole ten precepts were 
of equal force with them, and that they did not 
plead for one without the other.' And they for 
several years, went on with the church in a halv- 
ish kind of fellowship." ^ 

Mr. Bailey thus states the result : — 

''At tlie time of their change of sentiment and practice, 
[respecting the Bible SahbathJ, they had no intention of 
establisliing a church with this distinctive feature. God, 
evidentlj^, liad a different mission for them, and brought 
them to it, through the severe trial of persecution. They 
were forced to leave the fellowsliip of the Baptist church, 
or abandon the Sabbath of the Lord their God."- 

" These left the Baptist church on December 7, 1671."' 
" On the 23d of December, just sixteen days after with- 
drawing from the Baptist church, they covenanted to- 
gether in a church organization."^ 

Such was the origin of the first Sabbath-keep- 
ing church in America.^"' The second of these 

' Records of the First Baptist Church in Newport, quoted in the 
S. D. Baptist Memorial, vol. i. pp. 28-30. 

2 Bailey's Hist. pp. ;\ 10. aid. p. 237. "Id. p. 238. 

"1 Manual of the S. I). Baptists. i)p. :]9, 4o ; Backus, chap. xi. 
sect. 10. 


churches owes its origin to this circumstance : 
About the year 1700, Edmund Dunham of Piscat- 
away, N. J., reproved a person for labor on Sun- 
day. He was asked for his autliority from the 
Scriptures. On searching for this, he became sat- 
isfied that the seventh day is the only weekly 
Sabbath in the Bible, and began to observe it. 

" Soon after, others followed his example, and in 1707 
a Seventh-day Baptist church was organized, with seven- 
teen members. Edmund Dunham was chosen pastor and 
sent to Rhode Island to receive ordination."^ 

The S. D. Baptist General Conference was or- 
ganized in 1802. At its first annual session, it 
included in its organization eight churches, nine 
ordained ministers, and 1130 members.^ The 
Conference v^as organized with only advisory pow- 
ers, the individual churches retaining the matters 
of discipline and church government in their own 
hands.^ The Conference now embraces some 
eighty churches, and about 8000 members. These 
churches are found in most of the northern and 
western States, and are divided into five associa- 
tions, which, however, have no legislative nor dis- 
ciplinary power over the churches which compose 
them. There are, bslono^inor to the denomination, 
five academies, one college, "and a university 
with academic, collegiate, mechanical, and theo- 
logical departments in operation."^ The S. D. 
Baptist missionary society sustains several home 
missionaries who labor principally on the western 
and southern borders of the denomination. They 
have within a few years past met with a good 
deorree of success in this work. It has also a 


1 Hist. S. D. Baptist Geu. Conf. pp. 15, 238. 

2 Id. pp. 413-55. 3 Id. pp. oT, 58, 02, 74, 82. 
< Sabbath and Sunday, p. 232. 


missionary station at Shanghai, China, and a 
small church there of faithful Christians. 

The American Sabbath Tract Society is the 
publishing agency of the denomination. Its head- 
quarters are at Alfred Center, N. Y. It publishes 
the Sabbath Recorder, the organ of the S. D. Bap- 
tists, and it also publishes a series of valuable 
works relating to the Sabbath and the law of 

During the two hundred years which have 
elapsed since the organization of the first Sabba- 
tarian church in America, God has raised up 
among this people men of eminent talent and 
moral worth. He has also in providential Avays 
called attention to the sacred trust which he so 
long since confided to the S. D. Baptists, and 
which they have been slow to realize in its im- 
mense importance. 

Among those converted to the Sabbath through 
the agency of this people, the name of J. W. 
Morton is particularly worthy of honorable men- 
tion. He was sent in 1847 a missionary to the 
island of Hayti by the Reformed Presbyterians. 
Here he came in contact with Sabbatarian publi- 
cations, and after a serious examination became 
satisfied that the seventh day is the Sabbath of 
the Lord. As an honest man, what he saw to 
be truth he immediately obeyed, and returning 
home to be tried for his heresy, was summarily 
expelled from the Reformed Presbyterian church 
without being suffered to state the reasons which 
liad governed his conduct. He has given to the 
world a valuable work, entitled, " Vindication of 
the True Sabbath," in which his experience is re- 
lated, and his reasons for observing the seventh 
day set forth witli great force and clearness. 


The S. D. Baptists do not lack men of educa- 
tion and of talent, and they have ample means in 
their possession with which to sustain the cause 
of God. If in time past they have not fully re- 
alized that they were debtors to all mankind be- 
cause of the great truth which God committed to 
their trust, there is reason to believe that they 
are now t(j some extent awakening to this vast 
indebtedness. ^ 

There is also in the State of Pennsylvania a 
small body of German S. D. Baptists found in the 
counties of Lancaster, York, Franklin, and Bed- 
ford, and in the central and western parts of the 
State. They originated in 1728 from the teach- 
ing of Conrad Beissel, a native of Germany. 
They practice trine immersion, and the washing 
of feet, and observe open communion. They en- 
courage celibacy, but make it obligatory upon 
none. Even those who have chosen this manner 
of life are at liberty to marry if at any time they 
choose so to do. They established and success- 
fully maintained a Sabbath-school at Ephrata, 
their head-quarters, forty years before Robert 
Raikes had introduced the system of Sunday- 
schools. This people have suffered much perse- 
cution because of their observance of the seventh 
day, the laws of Pennsylvania being particularly 
oppressive toward Sabbatarians.^ The German 
S. D. Baptists do not belong to the S. D. Baptist 
General Conference. 

' Much interesting matter pertaining to the Seventh-day Bap- 
tists of America may be found in Uiter's Manual of the S. 1). 
Baptists ; Bailey's Hist, of the S. D. Bapt. Gen. Conf. ; Lewis's 
Sabbath and Sunday, and in the S. D. B. Memorial. 

2Kupp's History of all the Religious Denominations in the 
United States, pp. l<"y-l"-'3, second edition : Bailey's Hist. Gen. 
Conf. pp. 'J').j-2-")S. 

;')(»() iiisTOKv OP Tin: sadbath. 

We have already noticed the fact that Sabbath- 
keepers are rmmerous in Russia, in Poland, and 
in Turkey. We find the following statement re- 
specting Sabbath -keepers in Hungary : — 

" A congregation of seventh-day Christians in Hunga- 
ry, being refused tolerance by the laws, has embraced Ju- 
daism, in order to be allowed to exist in connection with 
one of the 'received religions.'"^ 

The probability is that as the laws of the Aus- 
trian Empire bear very heavily upon all religious 
bodies not belonging to some one of the tolerated 
sects or orders, these " Seventh-day Christians " 
on " being refused tolerance " in their own name, 
secured the privilege of observing the seventh 
day by allowing their doctrine to be classed by 
the civil authorities under the head of Judaism, 
and so bringing themselves under the tolerance 
accorded to the " received religions." We do not 
say that this was right, even as a technicality, 
but it is evidently the extent of what they did. 
There is no reason to believe that they abjured 
Christ. We also learn that there are Sabbath- 
keepers in the north of Asia : — 

"There is a sect of Greek Christians in Siberia who 
keep tlie Jewish Sabbath (Saturday). Such sects already 
exist in the United States, in Germany, and Ave believe in 
England. "- 

The Sabbath was first introduced to the atten- 
tion of the Advent people at Washington, N. H. 
A faithful Seventh-day Baptist sister, Mrs. Ra- 
chel D. Preston, from the State of New York, 
liaving removed to this place, brought with her 
the Sabbath of the Lord. Here she became in- 

> New York Independent, March 18, 1869. 
'^ iScmi- Weekly Tribune, May 4, 18(Jli. 


terested in the doctrine of the glorious advent of 
the Saviour at hand. Being instructed in this 
subject by the Advent people, she in turn in- 
structed them in the commandments of God, and 
as early as 1844, nearly the entire church in that 
place, consisting of about forty persons, became 
observers of the Sabbath of the Lord.^ The old- 
est body of Sabbath-keepers among the Seventh- 
day Adventists is therefore at Washington, N. IT. 
Its present number is small, for it has been thinned 
by emigration and by the ravages of death ; but 
there still remains a small company to bear wit- 
ness to this ancient truth of the Bible. 

From this place, several Advent ministers re- 
ceived the Sabbath truth during the year 1844. 
One of these was Eld. T. M. Preble, who has the 
honor of tii-st bringing this great truth before 
the Adventists through the medium of the press. 
His essay w^as dated Feb. 13, 1845. He pre- 
sented briefly the claims of the Bible Sabbath, 
and showed that it was not changed by the Sav- 
iour, but was changed by the great apostasy. 
He then said : — 

" Thus we see Dan. 7 : 25, fulfilled, the little horn 
changmg 'times and laws,' Therefore it appears to me 

1 This sister was born at Vernon, Yt. Her maiden name was 
Rachel D. Harris. At the age of seventeen, she Avas converted 
and soon after joined the Methodist church. After her marriage, 
she removed with her husband to central New York. There, at 
the age of twenty-eight, she became an observer of the Bible Sab- 
bath. The Methodist minister, her pastor, did what he could to 
turn her from the Sabbath, but finally told her she might keep it 
if she would not leave them. But she was faithful to her convic- 
tions of duty and united with the first Seventh-day Baptist church 
of Yerona, "Oneida Co., N. Y. Her first husband bore the name 
of Oaks ; her second, that of Preston. She and her daughter, De- 
light Oaks, were members of the first Yerona church at the time 
of their removal to Washington, X. IT. The mother died Feb. 1, 
]si;s ; the daugliter, several years cailicr. 

r)02 uisToiiv OK Tin: saijhath. 

that all who keep the first day for the Sabbath, are Pope's 
Sunday-keepers, ancl God's Sabbath breakers."^ 

Within a few months many persons began to 
observe the Sabbath as the result of the light 
thus shed on their pathway. Eld. J. B. Cook, 
a man of decided talent as a preacher and a 
writer, was one of these early converts to the 
Sabbath. Elders Preble and Cook were at this 
time in the full vigor of their mental powers, 
and were possessed of talent and a reputation for 
piety, which gave them great influence among 
the Advent] sts in behalf of the Sabbath. These 
men were called in the providence of God to fill 
an important place in the work of Sabbath reform. 

But both of them, while preaching and writing 
in its behalf, committed the fatal error of making 
it of no practical importance. They had apparent- 
ly the same fellowship for those who rejected the 
Sabbath that they had for those who observed it. 
Such a course of action produced its natural re- 
sult. After two or three years of this kind of 
Sabbath observance, eacli of these men aposta- 
tized from it, and thenceforward used what in- 
fluence they possessed in warring against the 
fourth commandment. Tlie larger part of those 
who embraced the Sabbath from their labors 
were not sufficiently impressed with its impor- 
tance to become settled and grounded in its 
weighty evidences, and, after a brief period, 
they turned back from its observance. But 
enough had been done to excite bitter opposition 
toward the Sabbath on the part of many Ad- 

'Eld. Preble's articls appeared in the Hope of hrael oi Feb. 
28, 1^45, publislied at Portland, Maine. This article was reprinted 
in tlie Advent Jieview ofAuc:. 23, 1870. The article, as rewritten 
by Kid. Preble and published in tract form, was also printed iu 
the lii^vinv of Dec. -Jl, lyiVJ. 

tup: sabi>>a'';ii in America. 503 

ventists, and to bring out the ingenious and 
plausible arguments by which men attempt to 
prove that God has abolished his own sacred law. 

Such was the fruit of their course, and such 
the condition of things at the time of their de- 
fection. But the result of their plan of action 
taught the Advent Sabbath-keepers a lesson of 
value, which they have never forgotten. They 
learned that the fourth commandment must be 
treated as a part of the moral law, if men are 
ever to be led to its sacred observance. 

Eld. Preble's first article in behalf of the Sab- 
bath was the means of calling the attention of 
our venerable brother, Joseph Bates, to this di- 
vine institution. He soon became convinced of 
its oblio'ation, and at once bes^an to observe it. 
He had acted quite a prominent part in the Ad- 
vent movement of 1843-4, and now, with self- 
sacrificing zeal, he took hold of the despised Sab- 
bath truth to set it before his fellow-men. He 
did not do it in the half-way manner of Elders 
Preble and Cook, but as a man thoroughly in 
earnest and fully alive to the importance of his 

The subject of the heavenly Sanctuary began 
about this time to interest many Adventists, and 
especially Eld. Bates. He was one of the first to 
see that the central object of that Sanctuary is 
the ark of God. He also called attention to the 
proclamation of the third angel relative to God's 
commandments. He girded on the armor to lay 
it down only when his work should be accom- 
plished. He has been instrumental in leading 
many to the observance of the commandments of 
God and the faith of Jesus, and few who have 


received the Sabbath from his teaching have 
apostatized from it.^ 

It was but a few months after Eld. Bates, that 
our esteemed and efficient brother, Eld. James 
White, also embraced the Sabbath. He had la- 
bored with much success in the great Advent 
movement, and he now entered heartily into the 
work of Sabbath reform. Uniting with Eld. 
Bates in the proclamation of the doctrine of the 
advent and the Sabbath as connected together 
in the Sanctuary and the message of the third 
angel, he has, with the blessing of God, accom- 
plished great results in behalf of the Sabbath. 

The publishing interests of the Seventh-day 
Adventists originated through his instrumen- 
tality. He began the work of publishing in 
1849, without resources, and with very few 
friends, but with much toil, self-sacrifice, and 
anxious care; and with the blessing of God upon 
his eftbrts, he has been the means of establishing 
an efficient office of publication, and of dissem- 
inating many important works throughout our 
country, and, to some extent, to other nations 
also. The publication of the Advent Revieiv 
and Herald of the Sabbath, the organ of the 
Seventh-day Adventists, was commenced by him 
in 1850. For most of the years of its existence, 
he has served as one of its editors ; and for £i\ 
its earlier years, he was both publisher and sole 
editor. During this time, he has also labored 
with energy as a minister of the gospel of Christ. 

The wants of the cause demanding an enlarge- 
ment of capital and more extensive operations, 
to this end an Association was incorporated in 
the city of Battle Creek, Michigan, May 3, 18G1, 

' ll«- I'-l! :i«<I.M-i, M.-ir.-li r.'. Is7-?. in ili.> .-i-tii i,.| li vi.r ..fliis ii-^.-. 


under the name of the Seventh-day Adventist 
Publishing Association. This Association owns 
three commodious publishing houses, with engine, 
power presses, and all the fixtures necessary for 
doing an extensive business. There are about 
fifty persons constantly employed in this work 
of publication. The Association has a capital of 
about S70,000. Under God, it owes its pros- 
perity to the prudent management and untiring 
energy of Eld. James White. 

The Advent Revieiu has at the present time 
(Nov., 1873) a circulation of about 5000 copies. 
The ToutJis Instructor, a monthly paper de- 
signed for the children of Sabbath-keeping Ad- 
ventists, began to be issued in 1852, and has now 
attained a circulation of nearly 5000 copies. 

The Advent Tidende, a Danish monthly with 
a circulation of 800, is published for the benefit 
of those who speak the Danish and Norwegian 
tonofues, of whom a considerable number have 
embraced the Sabbath. 

The S. D. Adventists have taken a strong in- 
terest in the subject of hygiene and the laws of 
health, and have established a Health Institute 
at Battle Creek, Mich., which publishes the 
Health Reformer, a monthly journal, magazine 
form, having a circulation of nearly 5000 copies. 

Numerous publications on Prophecy, the Signs 
of the Times, the Coming of Christ, the Sabbath, 
the Law of God, the Sanctuary, &c., &c., have 
been issued w^ithin the past twenty years, and 
have had an extensive circulation, amounting, in 
the aggregate, to 'many millions of pages. 

The ordinary financial wants of the cause are 
sustained by a method of collecting means known 

Sabbath Histuvy. 33 


as Systematic Benevolence. By this s^^stem, it is 
designed that each friend of the cause shall pay 
a certain sum weekly proportioned to the prop- 
erty which he possesses. But there is no com- 
pulsion in this matter. In this manner the bur- 
den is borne by all, so that it rests heavily upon 
none ; and the means needed for the work flows 
with a steady stream into the treasury of the 
several churches, and finally into that of the 
State Conferences. A settlement is instituted 
each year at the State Conferences, in which the 
labors, receipts, and expenditures, of each minister 
are carefully considered. Thus none are allowed 
to waste means, and none who are recognized as 
called of God to the ministry are allowed to suffer. 

The churches sustain their meetings for the 
most part without the aid of preaching. They 
raise means to sustain the servants of Christ, but 
bid them mainly devote their time and strength 
to save those who have not the light of these im- 
portant tiTiths shining upon their pathway. So 
they go out everywhere preaching the word of 
God, as his providence guides their feet. During 
the summer months, the work in new fields is 
caiTied forward principally by means of large 
tents, which enable the preacher to provide a 
suitable place of worship, wherever he may think 
it desirable to labor. 

The Seventh-day Adventists have thirteen 
State Conferences, which assemble annually in 
their respective States. Tliese bear the names of 
Maine, Vermont, New England, New York and 
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, 
Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas, 
and California. These Conferences are designed 
to meet the local wants of the cause. There is 


also a General Conference, which assembles yearly, 
composed of delegates from the State Conferences. 
This Conference takes the general oversight of 
the work in all the State Conferences, supplying 
the more destitute with laborers as far as possible, 
and uniting the whole strength of the body for 
the accomplishment of the work. It also takes 
the charge of missionary labor in those States 
which have no organized Conferences. 

There are about fifty ministers who devote 
their whole time to the work of the gospel. There 
is also a considerable number who preach a por- 
tion of the time and devote the remainder to sec- 
ular labor. There are about 6000 members in the 
several Conference organizations. But such is the 
scattered condition of this people (for they are 
found in all the northern States and in several 
of the southern), that a very large portion have 
no connection with its organization. They are 
to be found in single families scattered all the 
way from Maine to California and Oregon. The 
Revieio and Instructor constitute, in a great 
number of cases, the only preachers of their faith. 

Those subjects which more especially interest 
this people, are the fulfillment of prophecy, the 
second personal advent of the Saviour as an 
event now near at hand, immortality through 
Christ alone, a change of heart through the op- 
eration of the Holy Spirit, the observance of the 
Sabbath of the fourth commandment, the divin- 
ity and mediatorial work of Christ, and the de- 
velopment of a holy character by obedience to 
the perfect and holy law of God.' 

1 For a further knowledge of their views, see their weekly pa- 

Jicr, the Advent Eeviow and Herald of the Sahhath, published at 
Jattle ('reek, Michif^an, at $2.00 per year, and the list of publica- 
tions advertised in its columns. 


They are very strict with regard to tlie ordi- 
nance of baptism, beUeving not only that it re- 
quires men to be buried in the watery grave, but 
that even such baptism is faulty if administered 
to those who are breaking one of the ten com- 
mandments. They also believe that our Lord's 
direction in John 13 should be observed in con- 
nection with the supper. 

They teach that the gifts of the Spirit set forth 
in 1 Cor. 12 and Eph. 4, were designed to remain 
in tlie church till the end of time. They believe 
that these were lost in consequence of the same 
apostasy that changed the Sabbath. They also 
believe that in the final restoration of the com- 
mandments by the work of the third angel, the 
gifts of the Spirit of God are restored with them. 
So the remnant of the church, or last generation 
of its members, is said to "keep the command- 
ments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus 
Christ." ^ And the angel of God explains this by 
saying, " The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of 
prophecy."^ The spirit of prophecy therefore 
has a distinct place assigned to it in the final 
work of Sabbath reform. Such are their views 
of this portion of Scripture; and their history 
from the beginning has been marked by the in- 
fluence of this sacred gift. 

In the face of strong opposition, the people 
known as Seventh-day Adventists have arisen to 
bear their testimony for the Sabbath of the Lord. 
They have had perils from open foes, and from 
false brethren ; but they have thus far overcome 
the difliculties of the way, and from each have 
gathered strength for the conflict before them. 
They have a definite work which they hope to 

» Rev. 12: 17 ; U: 12. a Rev. 10:10.